In this by-the-recipe remake of 2001s German chocolate cake Mostly Martha, Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Kate, a top chef in New York City who rules her kitchen with a cast-iron fist. She wants to be alone, so, of course, her perfectly unencumbered existence is thrown into chaos with the death of her sister, who has willed to Kate custody of her perfectly precocious 9-year-old niece, Zoe, played by Abigail Breslin. At first, naturally, theirs is an uneasy relationship relative stranger living with relative stranger, neither of whom wants the other around. Then Kate decides to start taking Zoe to the restaurant, where the chef discovers in her sacred space a new hire named Nick, played by Aaron Eckhart, whose tousled bangs hang so low, youre amazed he can see what hes cooking. The guys so sweet, its astounding he isnt shot in soft focus. Nick wont take Kates gig, despite their bosss desires; he just wants everything else she has her heart and the kid, too. The cynic would like to write this off as empty grown-up hooey, Baby Boom without an ounce of bang. But you cant do it the things so charming and frothy and delightful and sentimental and beautifully shot and well-acted and sincere that it takes a good, long while before you start craving real nourishment. During this disheartening season of overheated air-conditioned diversions, that passes for artistic achievement.
Scott HicksCatherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Patricia Clarkson, Abigail Breslin, Jenny Wade, Lily Rabe, Eric Silver, Arija Bareikis, John McMartin, Celia WestonCarol Fuchs, Sandra NettelbeckSergio Aguero, Kerry HeysenWarner Bros. Pictures