I happened to see this movie on the WE - Women's Entertainment Channel the other night, and I found myself fascinated by it from start to finish. I can't wait till it's on again to tape it. While following the format of a light, romantic comedy, this movie takes a close look at some of the details of food and its place in society. It follows the career of an American would-be master chef from seeing why he is dishonorably discharged from the navy to life in his family's pizza parlor to the chance to go to France and study under a French "multi-star" chef. The comedy comes from a good natured mockery of the various pomposities of the chefs, sous-chefs, food critics, tax inspectors, doctors, etc. I thought the plot was quite elaborate, and I liked all the little elements of the movie that gave it the complex flavor of a good pot a feu -- the fight at the market, the dance lessons by the middle eastern kitchen cleaner, the tantric yoga sessions, etc. Even the restaurant's little white panel truck, which you see all over the place in France (they even use them up in the vineyards). I read the few reviews that this movie received, and I think the film is grossly under-rated. There are only a few minor dubbing problems, which I barely noticed. The acting is uniformly good, and you're left with a great feeling, and the urge to go out to eat at a good French restaurant right away! I would urge people to find the movie and watch it -- even though it apparently is not available in any format except German pal videotape. Check it out on WE.
I happened to catch this movie on French TV one night. It may not be perfect, but as an American living in France, I found that it really captured a lot of the feel of loving another culture, and trying to adapt to it, hard as that can be. I thought it was awesome that everyone spoke French and English - no dubbing, no voice-overs, no copping out and relying on subtitles. Props to them all. No, this is not a movie that's going to make the IMDb 250, but if you like cooking, France, travel, or just connecting with people (not to mention the thought of a bilingual Jason Lee), this is definitely a treat worth tasting.
I like movies about food and this is why I liked this move very much. I also loved Tampopo or instance, even more than this movie. Anyhow, its a movie about learning a trade, about falling in love, about discovering talent, and growing it. There is a lot of talk in this movie, great little conversations. If you think that Chefs are not like this, I can tell you, they are! I have worked with many a chef like this one. I was dragged by the ear trough the kitchen, pointed out where I left spots. I was hit with the flat side on knives, My hand was put on the grill, believe me the chef in this movie is not anything special, nor especially weird. But I loved the movie. Pieter
It was a long, long time since I got so hooked by a movie this way. I've seen it around seven times now, and it just keeps getting better and better. Maybe it's because I like to cook? Dunno. All I know is that this movie should be seen by everyone. Everywhere.
This movie doesn't know which way it should go. It is definitely not a movie about the art of cooking, although set in a restaurant and two brilliant chiefs it is hardly capable of transporting the idea of what is so great about the dishes they prepare. Instead you either believe it or you are set with the stupid critics. The only scene concentrating on cooking is when Jason Lee shows there's more to American cuisine than Roast Beef and apple pie. But if Food is the interest for you in watching the movie I would recommend Big Night with Stanley Tucci, where even the act of making an omelet tells a story or Dumplings with Bai Lin. This movie is not a love story either the chemistry with Jason lee and Irene Jacob is forced and does not show the similarities between the different cultures they depict, which is a shame since both are capable in the right movies. Better watch Kissing a Fool or The Two Lifes of Veronique when you are interested in the actors. This movie might at best be a Buddy Movie between the young upstart and the elder chief.
Foodie movies like Big Night, Chocolat, Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe and Babette's Feast give cooks and those interested in the culinary arts great pleasure. Add to this TOO short list, American Cusine. There is plenty of kitchen time and watching Jason Lee formulate dishes is especially enjoyable for those who cook. American Cuisine is great fun to watch and Lee's comedic timing and ability to milk a funny line for all its worth really come in handy. Highly recommended to anyone who finds the kitchen even remotely interesting. Francophiles will also find this movie entertaining as it takes place in France and makes an attempt to defend American cooks.
Besides having a few too many cliches, Cuisine Americaine is a delightful romp through the world of French cuisine from the viewpoint of the earnest and naturally talented American chef. Jason Lee is supported by a cast of excellent European character actors, and gives a stand-up performance. For those interested in food and cooking, this is a great movie, otherwise just try to have fun with the numerous story-lines. I would recommend this to half of my friends.
Sure this film is light, and I have soft side for any media that focuses on food, (my personal obsession)but I can't think of a better film for a date. American Cuisine brings to my mind the British sitcom Chef! which I miss almost as much as the original Star Trek show.
'American Cuisine' tries to do for French cuisine what 'Big Night' did for Italian cuisine and 'Eat Drink Man Woman' did for Chinese cuisine, but it lacks what those two films had - a plot. The movie is about a young American chef named Loren who goes to France to work in the kitchen of his idol, the famous Louis Boyer. It is meant to be a fast paced romp, but ends up a mess as new plot devices are thrown in every other minute. For example, Loren goes from being the slowest chef in the restaurant to taking charge of the operation when Louis Boyer goes mad. That is another implausability -- Boyer is eccentric at best, but certainly not crazy enough to shut down his restaurant or tear apart his family. No matter though. The movie's purpose was to show off the excitement of French culinary art, and it does that well. Plus, the performances by Eddy Mitchell as Chef Boyer, Irene Jacob as his daughter, and Isabelle Petit-Jacques as the nerve-wracked partner of the restaurant (was she also Boyer's wife?) are very charming. Jason Lee, on the other hand, seems to have been miscast. His performance was a bit amateurish. Still, the movie is worth a watch if only to see the food.
this pleasant-enough comedy is mostly an excuse for a detailed glimpse into the world of gourmet cooking. the formulaic plot concerns an aspiring american who goes to work for a famous temperamental french chef. he ends up loved by the chef and marrying the chef's daughter. nothing special here. however, if you're interested in becoming a chef de cuisine or just curious about what goes on in the kitchens of the world's best restaurants, you'll find it fascinating. plus, there's a lot of gourmet food to drool over. especially memorable is one shot: the chef prepares to release onto the world the first dish that he invented and added to the menu himself. the camera takes the dish's pov, as the waiter carries the plate out of the kitchen, the proud cook & his loving spouse hold hands and gaze like two parents sending their only son into battle!
A very nice movie, with lots of funny elements. The characters really come out nicely. You must like cooking at least a bit, though. Sorry about the end, that makes it really worth a 7 instead of an 8. Just forget about it and enjoy the movie.
This isn't exactly Jason Lee's best film, but it does show him expanding his acting range. I wouldn't go rent this movie if you're looking for an original and inspiring film, but if you either find yourself with some free time or are a Jason Lee fan, this wouldn't be that bad of a choice.