Movie Review: Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

imageIt’s too bad the Michelin ratings system for restaurants doesn’t apply to movies, because Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred-Foot Journey (C+) is hovering between two and three stars. Although sentimental and sure to please folks in search of a formulaic adult crowd pleaser amidst summer blockbusters, it’s missing the ingredients of something truly scrumptious as the director throws in every flavor but subtlety. Helen Mirren channels Cruella de Ville as the owner of a classic French restaurant; and she slings rather than delivers pies to her new neighbors, a culinary family from India. It’s confit versus curry as a battle of restaurants commences, with Om Puri meeting Mirren’s tit for tat with the dramatic range of a sledgehammer. Only two young spice whisperers at rival restaurants played earnestly by Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon bring a few acting bonbons to this cliché soufflé. Most of the film is middlebrow, saccharine and predictable. Even the food porn is soft core (c’mon, le directeur du Chocolat!) although the film’s settings are often pretty as a postcard. Hoping there would be a bit more pillage in the village, I just kept thinking there must be more than this provincial lark.