In LA's Fairfax district, where ethnic groups abound, four households celebrate Thanksgiving amidst family tensions. In the Nguyen family, the children's acculturation and immigrant parents...
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A group of women of Indian descent take a trip together from their home in Birmingham, England to the beach resort of Blackpool. The women vary in ages from mid-teens to old, and initially ... See full summary »
Summary from Canadian distributor, Mongrel Media: "I'm British but... uncovers a defiant popular culture, part Asian, part British, against a backdrop of fading English nationalism. The ... See full summary »
In LA's Fairfax district, where ethnic groups abound, four households celebrate Thanksgiving amidst family tensions. In the Nguyen family, the children's acculturation and immigrant parents' fears collide. In the Avila family, Isabel's son has invited her estranged husband to their family dinner. Audrey and Ron Williams want to keep their own family's ruptures secret from Ron's visiting mother. In the Seelig household, Herb and Ruth are unwilling to discuss openly their grown daughter's living with her lover, Carla. Around each table, things come to a head. A gun, an affair, a boyfriend, and a pregnancy precipitate crises forcing each family to find its center.Written by
What a grand idea - to celebrate America and also to highlight cultural diversity, let's have an African-American, Hispanic, Jewish, and Vietnamese family all meet at Thanksgiving with their own turkey feast. "What's Cooking" starts out as a meaningful discourse on our ethnic differences but ends up as a superficial, patronizing mess. Using food as a focal point, "What's Cooking" could have reveal much about the importance of family to these four cultures. Instead, we are treated to silly plots (do you really believe all four families lived in the same block) and four equally sanitized endings to some very difficult contemporary problems - acculturation, same-sex relationships, infidelity, and racial prejudice. The filmmakers also casted big name stars in misplaced roles to gain commercial success at the risk of losing its credibility - Joan Chen as Vietnamese, Mercedes Ruehl as Hispanic, and Kyra Sedgwick and Julianna Margulies as a lesbian couple. You think back on "Babette's Feast", "Like Water for Chocolate", and "The Big Night" and you feel connected to food as an overpowering statement on human passion and compassion. In "What's Cooking", food is treated no better than the commercial that adorns the city bus. Fittingly the film takes places in Los Angeles where people there could stomach this Pablum as real food. Fortunately, for the rest of us, we can spot a fake even if it looks like an old-fashioned turkey.
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