Helen Mirren: great actor, so-so French accent.
THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (Lasse Hallström). 115 minutes. Opens Friday (August 8). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Foodies will go nuts for Lasse Hallström's adaptation of Richard C. Morais's bestseller about duelling restos in an idyllic French village.
When sectarian violence leads to the destruction of his family's restaurant in Mumbai - and the death of his wife - the patriarch (Om Puri) packs his family off to Europe. Their car breaks down in front of a restaurant for sale, and he decides to buy the place and settles his family into the tiny, perfect town.
Problem is, he's bought across the road from a Michelin-approved French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren, with a so-so French accent) who's not impressed with the boisterous Bollywood-style competition.
Worse, chef Hassan (Manish Dayal) is a singular talent, and one of her employees, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), is secretly giving Hassan French cooking tips, making him even more of a threat.
Screenwriter Steven Knight has dropped Hassan's coming-of-age plot line in London and Hassan's first encounter with Western fare in the UK in favour of budding romantic entanglements in France, making the film a lot slighter than the book.
There are no surprises but lots of pleasures: Puri and Mirren are obviously having a gas, and it's literally a feast for the eyes. The food is gorgeous.
Prepare to want to eat afterwards.