7.1/10
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52 user 36 critic

What's Cooking? (2000)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 1 December 2000 (USA)
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... See full summary »

Director:

Gurinder Chadha

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mercedes Ruehl ... Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Avila
Victor Rivers ... Javier Avila
Douglas Spain ... Anthony 'Tony' Avila
Maria Carmen Maria Carmen ... Sofia Avila
Isidra Vega ... Gina Avila
Elena Lopez Elena Lopez ... Grandma Avila
A Martinez ... Daniel 'Danny'
Richard Yniguez ... Robert Avila
Lorraine Perez Lorraine Perez ... Auntie Delores
Eva Rodriguez Eva Rodriguez ... Auntie Eva
Adrian Armas ... Avila Cousin
Caz Caz ... Gordo - The Avila's Dog
Joan Chen ... Trinh Nguyen
François Chau ... Duc Nguyen (as Francois Chau)
Will Yun Lee ... Jimmy Nguyen
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Taglines:

Families. Fights. Feasts. A holiday tradition. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, brief language and a perilous situation | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Vietnamese | Yiddish

Release Date:

1 December 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Négy vacsora See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$144,586, 19 November 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,039,374, 29 December 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

References Bonanza (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Wipeout
(1962)
Written by Ronald Wilson, Robert Berryhill, Patrick Connolly and Jim Fuller
Published by Miraleste and Robin Hood Music (BMI)
Performed by Craig Pruess (as Craig), Daryl Pruess (as Daryl) and Ben Pruess
Produced by Craig Pruess
Executive producer by Gurinder Chadha
See more »

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User Reviews

Food fight
21 November 2000 | by lou-50See all my reviews

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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