Today’s Special (2009)
Rated: R, 99 min
Director: David Kaplan
Starring: Aasif Mandvi, Naseeruddin Shah, Jess Weixler, Madhur Jaffrey, Harish Patel
***A BIT OF SPOILAGE***
This is a simple movie about a man who begins to get in touch with his family, Indian roots and himself through food and an unlikely master chef.
Feeling disrespected and getting nowhere in life, sous chef Samir (Aasif Mandvi) quits his job in a fancy New York restaurant with the idea of going to Paris to learn from the masters and come back as a head chef. His father, Hakim (Harish Patel) doesn’t believe Samir can be successful and owns and operates a constantly empty Indian restaurant that he’s desperately trying to keep afloat himself. During an argument about Samir’s plans, Hakim falls ill. Guilt ridden, Samir attempts to keep the restaurant running even though he has little clue on how to cook Indian meals.
Farrida (Madhur Jaffrey), his mother, is habitually attempting to arrange dates with Indian girls for her son via dating sites and magazine. Samir, however, starts relationship with single mother, ex-coworker, Carrie (Jess Weixler). He meets a free spirited cab driver, Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah) who happens to be a excellent Indian chef, in which Samir hires to help out at the restaurant.
I found out about this movie because I like Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show and as a comic. Turns out he’s a decent actor as he’s fairly likable in this movie. The plot is simple and the main characters aren’t really over the top that much and the emotions they convey are fairly believable. However, the kitchen assistants, played by Ajay Naidu and Debargo Sanyal, seemed to be caricatures and are a slight distraction to an otherwise relatable, relatively low-key ensemble.
Not much to say about the location and sets as all I know about New York is what I’ve seen in the news and movies. So, it feels like New York. *shrugs*
The only thing I can be critical about this movie is that they didn’t really show that much cooking going on. Granted the movie was more focused on relationships and life experiences, but I would’ve like to see how they made Tandoori or Tikka Masala. That’s just me and I’m always a little hungry.
In the end, it was an innocuous movie of discovery. And I would recommend it for people who want a little smile on their face.
Two Things: First, I agree, this review ain’t that great. I plan on getting more concise and cohesive in the near future. Second, I’ll be using a modified Chris Gore review of BUY, RENT, PASS. I’ll be using a recommendation system of SEE or PASS.