- Director – James Hacking
- Starring – Dougray Scott, Claire Forlani and Gordon Ramsay
- Writer – James Hacking
- Year – 2011
- Length – 93 mins
As I have learnt from the multitude of reality TV cooking shows which make regular appearances in the Malone household, the secret to a good dish is carefully selecting fresh ingredients and balancing the different favours together in order for them to all work in harmony on the plate. However in Love’s Kitchen they do things in a different way. Essentially chucking a bunch of old, out of date and re-heated ideas into the mixing bowl, bunging it in the oven and after 90 mins they have produced an under-cooked, half-baked idea of film, devoid of any real flavour or substance.
Love’s Kitchen tells the lukewarm tale of successful chef and restauranteur Rob Haley (Dougray Scott) who loses all passion for food after the tragic death of his wife in a car accident. A scathing review of his restaurant leads to a cringe worthy intervention by Gordon Ramsey, before our Rob heads off to the countryside and buys The Boot, an old country pub which his late wife fell in love with before her untimely demise and is now frequented by an American food critic (Claire Forlani). Here Rob proceeds to try to recapture his love for food and turn around both the culinary and fiscal fortunes of The Boot. So it appears as if Love’s Kitchen is essentially a 90 minute episode of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, which just in case you were wondering, that’s not a good thing.
Most rom-coms are predictable, so much so that you can sketch out the plot within the first 5 mins or so of meeting the characters. Why some work and others don’t is how much the audience grows to like and invest in the two leads. I am big rom-com fan and a huge admirer of a happy ending. I don’t mind it being telegraphed, but I want to enjoy the journey. I need to want the couple to be together at the end of the film. Within 5 mins of watching Love’s Kitchen I wanted to take a spatula and start slapping people around the face.
Everything about the film felt forced. It felt as if they had studied what had worked in Four Weddings or Notting Hill and tried to recreate it piece by piece. Bringing together a British chap and an American lass has always worked well in the past, but this time the main leads are simply unconvincing with precious little chemistry together. They didn’t seem suited to each other at all, so you just didn’t care what happens to them.
The supporting cast fared little better and appeared to be the dregs of out of work British soap opera actors. Eastenders was well represented and I almost fell of my chair when Nigel from Brookside turned up. I am sure if I had looked hard enough I probably would have found an extra from Crossroads somewhere in the background. There were moments when I couldn’t believe what I was watching and hearing. The script sounded like it had come from a Carry On film and some of the characters felt like a cross between caricatures of English country folk and characters from Viz (get ooorffff my land!!) . At times I felt embarrassed for the cast, but mostly I just wanted it to stop.
First time writer/director James Hacking did learn one good thing from Four Weddings though and that was Simon Callow. He is star of this film and simply delightful as a boozed up food critic, quite reminiscent of Keith Floyd. I could have happily have watched a film just about him.
Apparently when then film opened to a small select 5 screens, it only took 121 GBP in UK during its opening weekend, making it one of the lowest UK openings of all time. You can see why.
★Review by Will Malone If you liked Loves Kitchen, then try Iron Sky