6.9/10
2,490
53 user 37 critic

What's Cooking? (2000)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 1 December 2000 (USA)
Four families in LA of different ethnicity (Latino, Asian/Vietnamese, African and Jewish) gather together for Thanksgiving dinner.

Director:

Gurinder Chadha
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

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

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Thanksgiving. A celebration of food, tradition and relative insanity. 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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Rachel's mom, Ruth, spills coffee onto the saucer of the 4th cup. She puts spoons on all 4 saucers without cleaning the spilled coffee. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Resident: Peking Duck Day (2019) 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 »

User Reviews

 
a possible world
3 January 2001 | by jonie v.See all my reviews

With Girlfight, this tops my best of 2000 list. Not that I have seen them all, and not that there's much competition. This was such a dreadful year in Hollywood I'm swearing off Oscar day. But this IS an amazing film (as is Girlfight). Let women direct more, I say, and let budgets be slashed in subatomic particles. Most importantly, let people who have stuff to say, say it. All the other ones should wait for inspiration.

One of the amazing things about this film is its pace. It is breathless, and you never quite stop laughing or gasping or having some variety of intense edge-of-your-seat emotional reaction. Which is amazing, because the plot is so complex, it could easily have gotten lost in chaos. Even as you laugh, the tension doesn't let up. The stories unfold rapidly and dramatically and with full comic timing, and you never quite stop marveling. We are not treated very often to this kind of inventive filmmaking.

If you've lived in LA for any significant length of time, you'll realize from the start that this film is not meant to be realistic. The MTA scenes at the beginning are so un-LA, so colorful and happy, you know this is going to be a grand fest of the imagination and the heart, not a tale of urban life. (For one, people on MTA buses tend to sit dejectedly, not to have a collective laugh&lovefest). Similarly, the ethnic angle is more life-as-we-would-like-it-to-be than life-as-is. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's so refreshing to see race on film without having to trudge through misery, pain, and blood, you want to weep with gratitude. What's Cooking? is full of big themes treated with similar lightness: broken families, same-sex relationships, tradition vs. progress, parenthood, urban violence, gender roles, politics... Even as it packs it all in, the film does it all seamlessly, treating it as the stuff of everyday's life it in fact is (funny how movies tend to deal with one issue at the time, and how we've grown to consider that a good thing).

But lightness is not glibness or superficiality. There's a big heart and a big sharp mind at the center of What's Cooking? and problems get taken seriously. Clearly, since this is the world as we'd like it to be, most things find some sort of satisfactory conclusion by the end. And that is more than all right, because we're tired to see gays and people of color go down, families drown in waters to thick to negotiate, and all the vast repertoire of disasters that make critics think a film "got it right." Nope. Not here. But the world as we'd like it to be can still be a POSSIBLE world, and this is ultimately the exhilarating nutshell of What's Cooking?: that joy is not beyond our reach, the pain can give way to healing, and that, hell, we can, maybe not perfectly but nonetheless, all get along.

Well done!


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 53 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Vietnamese | Yiddish

Release Date:

1 December 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What's Cooking? See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$144,586, 19 November 2000

Gross USA:

$1,045,899

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,698,759
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed