Just try stomaching Tassos Bandis’s kindly Greek grandpa.
A TOUCH OF SPICE (Tassos Boulmetis). 108 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (December 5). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
A Touch Of Spice is an overly sentimental Greek offering so stuffed with ingredients that it leaves a bad taste.
Fanis (Georges Corraface) is an astronomy professor who learned about cooking and love from his kindly grandfather (Tassos Bandis), a spice merchant in Istanbul.
Switching between Fanis's childhood and the present, the film presents a warm and good-humoured portrayal of family life that is nostalgic and clichéd in a My Big Fat Greek Wedding sort of way. Everyone is just happy enough or just sad enough or just angry enough or just excited enough, and it never rings quite true.
While there's plenty of build-up, none of the little moments lead anywhere meaningful.
The result is a beautifully framed pastiche that relies too heavily on a stale metaphor. Yes, sometimes the wrong spice can make a dish tasty, but life is a bit more complicated than adding cinnamon to a batch of meatballs.