The Ramen Girl (2008) Poster

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More than just a romantic comedy
Gordon-1129 December 2009
This film is about an American girl who uses a Ramen shop as her haven after being dumped by her boyfriend. There, she experiences and learns more than she unexpected to.

"The Ramen Girl" is actually enjoyable to watch. I particularly like the way that it treats Japanese culture with respect. This can be seen by not Americanising the Japanese characters, using plenty of Japanese language in the film and also using actors who actually speaks fluent Japanese. Hearing a Japanese ramen chef explaining the spirit of ramen is quite inspirational, as one could see so much dedication and respect for something seemingly insignificant. "The Ramen Girl" is more than just a romantic comedy or a "Lost in Translation" rip off. It is a good way to introduce Japanese culture, values and traditions to other cultures. I enjoyed "The Ramen Girl" a lot, and I hope it reaches a wider audience.
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7/10
ignore the user votes, this movie was actually fun to watch
megafan-121 March 2009
I gave this movie a fair 7/10. I would ignore the nonsensical 1/10 and 10/10 ratings and give it a fair shake if you're into Japanese food and culture. I was pretty surprised at how they portrayed Japanese culture...not totally accurate, but not a travesty either. I also wouldn't consider this to be a remake of Tampopo -- totally different characters and story lines. But it was fun seeing the main cowboy hat-wearing guy from Tampopo doing a small role as the ramen grand master. His expressions and eating reactions were hilarious! The filmmakers obviously have a love of japan and its culture, and I can feel their sincerity in sharing this joy through this movie. This movie isn't perfect by a longshot (the whole subplot with the British guy and the southern girl was useless and irritating), but there were some genuinely fun and funny moments. Keep your expectations in check and just enjoy the movie for what it is.
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8/10
Pleasant Surprise
jplank14753 May 2010
I knew nothing about this movie before watching it but within minutes I was hooked.

Brittany Murphy tugged at my heart's strings as she portrayed a girl who is left alone in Tokyo trying to find a purpose or reason to go on.

This movie does very well even though the Ramen Girl (Abby) doesn't understand what anyone is saying at first. You quickly pull for her to succeed in the battle of translation.

The Culture clash is entertaining and hilarious at times. The only downside I have (Don't worry, this isn't a spoiler) is just that I wished the ending would have been slightly different. Either way, I'm glad to have this pleasant surprise in movie collection.

If you have always wanted to visit Japan, or have any interest in Japanese culture, this will certainly tickle your fancy.

Hope you enjoy.
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7/10
Pleasant comedy about girl finding her spirit...
lhhung_himself18 May 2009
I think a large part of the negative reaction comes from expectations about what the film is or should be.

First of all, this is not a remake of Tampopo, nor is it about food. It actually borrows more from "Like Water for Chocolate" than Tampopo, but the food subplot is an afterthought and a bit of a distraction.

It isn't really a rom-com though there is a romantic interest in there. Nor is it really a East meets West type of thing either though that certainly is an element.

It is a story about a young girl, who like many young people have wandered aimlessly expecting that life will just happen for them. The Japanese expectation that a big company will take care of them for life is not that much different from the American expectations. Our ramen girl discovers that such a lack of passion and spirit, even when the ingredients are there and all the right steps are followed will lead to a bland soup. A simple metaphor but done fairly well.

Brittany Murphy is surprisingly good as the ramen girl and her interactions with the gruff ramen-nazi (wonderfully played by Toshiyuki Nishida) are hilarious. The development of the relationship between the two of them was very well done.

I quite enjoyed this film and recommend it as a light pleasant diversion that brings a smile to your face - like a good bowl of ramen should...
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7/10
Good Movie, Bad Marketing
right left22 August 2011
Strange thing about this movie is that it has a lot of things wrong with it, but it is still a good movie, because it has a lot of "charm". Not the kind of charm in a movie that is overly contrived, but an actual sincere charm - which is hard to find. Most credit goes to Brittany Murphy for the charm, because she is such a naturally, sweet girl that she just delivers that quality to the whole film. The first problem I would love to address is the Cover of the DVD/Poster/Ad, because it is really awful. It has a "reverse stereotype" of Brittany Murphy in a Kimono with hands clasped. This would be okay for a film that one would think is about a soft-porn, submissive female on Cinemax, but it is not - it's more in the line of Karate Kid, and Shall we Dance. The People who watch expecting to see some White girl in Japan in hot, sexy escapades will be disappointed, and the People who usually watch more cultural, art films would avoid it thinking it's just soft-porn, so this "Cover" just disappoints everyone. The Marketing Dept. should learn from the people who market Fast & the Furious, because those movies sucks big, but always pulls in the audience because people know what to expect.
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9/10
Great movie on several levels
farmerdave746 February 2010
As one who has lived in Japan and has eaten REAL Ramen, I enjoyed this movie just from that perspective. However, I was touched on other levels as well.

There is a depth to this movie that sadly many viewers simply will not be able to comprehend. This is a movie that goes beyond the technicality or "head thinking" aspect of a craft and addresses the heart or "spirit" of doing something.

This is clearly a movie about redemption. It is a movie about relationships. And, it is a movie about cross-cultural understanding and communication.

Ramen Girl touched my heart, and I hope it will touch yours as well.
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7/10
It's Its nice to watch an Asian film with no martial arts, or weird horror plot
matthew willey20 May 2009
A young woman Abby (Brittany Murphy) travels to Tokyo to see her boyfriend and he promptly breaks up with her and she gets a job works in a Tokyo noodle restaurant, where she finds out it is an art form to create one of Japan's favorite dishes. She trains under Japanese master Maezumi (Toshiyuki Nishida) who tests her and teaches her lessons in life and cooking. This is a fun little film and I wasn't expecting to like it so much. There is a lot about Japanese culture and traditions that most Americans like me don't understand , when I think of noodles I think of cheap dried noodles as a food of last resort. There are to this film credit sub titles for the Japanese; I think that if they had of put actor speaking in English it would have been very unauthentic. So there is some very interesting scenes of Tokyo that you don't see in most films, a kind of realistic view of Japanese life. It's nice to watch an Asian film with no martial arts, or weird horror plot, this is more of a romantic comedy and some drama. It's a feel good movie and was suggested to me by a friend as a movie to watch and review, she was right . Brickthrewglass.com
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8/10
A Good Movie to See
pllc1513 October 2009
This was my first view of Britany Murphy in a movie, "The Ramen Girl". I was impressed with her acting and presence on screen. With all the new Hollywood stars coming out of the woodwork these days, you begin to lose track about who's good and who's not so good. This movie has definitely etched a niche for her as a capable actor and hope she manages her career accordingly with her remarkable talent.

The movie in many ways is a throw-back to a silent movie where dialog is not really the centerpiece to the story. The subtitles though helpful were not needed as the audience would have gotten the gist just by viewing the actors' facial expressions intertwined with their body language.

This movie must have been successful in Japan and Asia as it importantly catered to the emotional side of things and the nuances associated with human relationships in order to successfully carry the story rather the plot itself. We are usually accustomed to movies with a continuity heading toward a final conclusion that makes sense to all of us. The viewers, who feel this way about a movie, will be disappointed because "The Ramen Girl" falls short of this requirement. I liked the movie because it successfully joined two cultures in an attempt to show that the traumas and jubilations arising out of love, pride, loneliness, self-worth, honor and feelings we share and experience with people are commonly the same universal denominators we all share in culturally different ways in Tokyo or NYC or the world for that matter. The writer was right on the mark on this one. The movie does have its funny moments to keep it interesting. All around, I give it an 8.
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7/10
Brittany: Modern Day Monroe
sandy-3409 June 2012
Watching Brittany Murphy's films posthumously makes you realize that although many of her movies weren't that great, SHE was a REAL shining star. She was the Marilyn Monroe of her era - bright-eyed, innocent, full of life and wonder. Her childlike hunger to learn is most evident in The Ramen Girl and this part was made for her. Too bad the supporting actors weren't as good... too bad the script was mediocre. It was a terrific idea and Brittany's acting makes it worth watching. She will charm you and, like other coming of age movies, you'll be inspired to want to change your life somehow or do your best at what you're doing now. Watch Brittany and take in her many-faceted soul in this and her other films and you'll be enchanted.
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American girl wants to be a Ramen chef, very nice Britanny Murphy movie.
TxMike26 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It is pronounced "rah - mun" not "ray-men".

I must say I am rather surprised to see the low IMDb rating for this movie. It is much better and more entertaining than many recent rom-com releases rated higher. While it is a rom-com, it is a subtle one with a good message.

Brittany Murphy is Abby, in Tokyo with her working boyfriend. She has a menial job she hates, but being there with him makes it worthwhile. Until one day he tells her he is going to Osaka on business, and doesn't know if he will ever return. We quickly figure out he isn't coming back, but it takes Abby a few hundred unreturned messages left to his answering machine to come to that conclusion.

One fateful night, in the rain and hungry, she wanders into the local Ramen shop, they are closed, but since they don't understand English and Abby doesn't understand Japanese, she ends up being comforted with a bowl of Ramen and decides that she wants to learn to be a Ramen chef, apparently something unheard of there. But since she doesn't know that, and no one can tell her, she insinuates herself.

The old chef is veteran Japanese actor Toshiyuki Nishida as Maezumi. Immediately we see he is a very difficult man, but Abby is persistent. We learn that Maezumi has a son who didn't want to follow his father as a Ramen chef, and instead went off to Paris to study classical cooking. Maezumi was not happy about this, especially as other veteran Ramen chefs, preparing their own sons to succeed them, taunt him.

There are many small side stories, and the movie is fun, but the main theme is Abby trying to make her mark as a Ramen chef.

SPOILERS: Eventually Abby gets the old chef to teach her properly, but she likes to innovate. When the "master" comes to their neighborhood to taste her Ramen he likes it, but does not approve. However Abby has found herself, the movie ends one year later, in New York, with her running her own Ramen shop with innovative dishes. And we see a photo of the old chef and his wife with their son in France.
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8/10
RIP Brittany Murphy - great movie about japan
Ziv Sahar21 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I don't usually watch these kind of movies.. too much drama and predicted plot.. But since this one was really focusing on japan I told myself I have to go see it.

The movie itself is great.. it really shows Japan of today! really explains how foreigners do in japan. how they work , live , have fun.. and even meet people and fall in love!

The movie consist on an old man who owns a ramen shop, and Abby (Brittany Murphy)which is fascinated by the effects of ramen on people. Abby struggle with the old man and she wants him to teach her the secret of ramen. The old man is very stubborn and strict. He treats Abby has a little spoiled American kid , and give her no discounts. The movie shows how ramen is being made very nicely and that it has to be made with soul (Tamashii,魂).

This is a story about Abby's journey of finding her purpose in life and soul to pour into the ramen soup. Abby's journey is tough , and through the hole movie she's struggling to understand the definition of Tamashii.

I think this movie is wonderful feed for those who like Japan. especially if you like ramen.
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7/10
Very watchable...a few plot holes...ending could've been better
bimmer_378 August 2009
Never heard of this movie before my sister started playing it. I guess it wasn't marketed very well. All in all, the movie was enjoyable, especially if you're a fan of Brittany Murphy. She did a pretty great job and it's always pleasant to her smile. Her interactions with her teacher were the best parts of the movie.

There was no real need for the other non-Japanese characters as their subplots didn't add much to the movie. Nor was there any real end to their story. The ending was quick and not well thought out, but still okay. Other than that, a very watchable and at times pretty funny movie. Made me crave Ramen!!!
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8/10
Inspirational!
nardellig31 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The Ramen girl is an inspirational movie, which teaches that life sometimes or often when needed, brings us trough strange and unwelcomed roads to reach our true destiny and discover our nature. The protagonist in the movie is a girl, an under-achiever who has never completed anything in her life and has a clingy relationship with her boyfriend who is a software developer in Japan. When he abandons her she fall in pieces but she resist to the temptation to go back to the USA and find solace in a ramen shop located near her flat. She is so lonely that ask the shop owner to be his apprentice. The owner, who does not speak English, is tough Japanese man who in his hearth is missing his young son who has left for Europe deciding not too follow the father's footsteps. The girl has to endure shouting and abuse and being ridiculed, until she gets the respect of the owner and his clients. Interesting is that the girl is trying to learn to cook ramen in the western way, thinking with the conscious mind, while the owner tries to make her understand that for the perfect ramen broth you need to use your feeling and emotions which will influence the customer's experience. Finally the girls become a ramen chief, open her own shop and find the love of her life
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8/10
Awwww, lighten up!
emortland13 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Not every movie needs to be a tome on the human condition. Watching this movie was a pleasant way for me to spend a drizzling Sunday afternoon.

Brittany Murphy is cute and fun to watch. I give her points for being the producer, and doing what she wants to do with her career.

It's easy to take potshots at this movie; the fact that it apparently went straight to DVD pretty much shows that. And gee, Sherlock, thanks for pointing out the similarities with Tampopo, you think the cameo by Tsutomo Yamazaki gave it away? I actually had more fun finding allusions from other movies, like "The Goodbye Girl."

The deep questions for me were how much would her apartment have really cost, how can you portend to be a PhiBet and not be fluent within a year, and was this movie shot in video?
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3/10
So much potential, 100 minutes I won't get back.
LonestarPundit15 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Not a Brittany Murphy fan, but as one who appreciates good food from around the world, gave this one a shot. Mistake. As others have alluded to, the whole premise of the movie is that the Japanese Ramen chef and Abby cannot understand each other! Get the bilingual love interest involved already! The ending was really a downer, and somewhat inexplicable. He names her his successor, they hug, and next scene, Bam! off to New York. That's gratitude for you. She should have stayed in Tokyo, renamed his Ramen shop "Goddess Ramen", and made the rumen the way she 'felt' it should be made. Still do not know what the peripheral characters were doing in the movie. Poor, though could have been much better! Also, watch as Brittany's lips enlarge over the course of the movie.
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8/10
Not quite Tampopo, but not to far away
Lars-Toralf Storstrand26 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
If you have seen the Japanese movie "Tampopo" (1985) you'll certainly know what I mean by the slur that I put in my summary.

While The Ramen Girl has many a good quality, and Brittany Murphy was an excellent choice for the part as Abby, there was still something missing, or how it was stated on her broth, "it is bland".

That in itself is not meant negatively. It simply means that there is not a full-fledged soul.

There's plenty of meat both on the bone and in the broth, but still there is something missing. A pinch of salt, maybe? A certain lack of understanding for the Japanese culture that only Japanese can understand? This is the secret of the Ramen itself, a search for perfection, and not before the Ramen Grand Master has had his say, there will be acceptance.

Go see Tampopo, and you'll know what I mean.
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1/10
what are these people talking about?
imdb-331-70714431 March 2012
The people who left good reviews must have a financial stake in this movie because I don't think I can adequately express just how terrible it was. Sometimes a movie can be entertaining precisely because it is so bad, but sadly, this movie can't even hit that mark. The "acting" is beyond atrocious. The only thing that separates this movie from a high school film project is professional cinematography. Not that it's great, but it's at least adequate for a widely released movie.

Now, I can enjoy a cheesy romantic comedy as much as the next person, but this movie is really, really terrible. It's not good enough to make me think it was a serious production, but not funny enough to make me think it was a parody. Wikipedia says this movie had a $32 million budget, they must have spent it all on hookers and blow.
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8/10
Inspirational!
Giuseppe Nardelli31 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The Ramen girl is an inspirational movie, which teaches that life sometimes or often when needed, brings us trough strange and unwelcomed roads to reach our true destiny and discover our nature. The protagonist in the movie is a girl, an under-achiever who has never completed anything in her life and has a clingy relationship with her boyfriend who is a software developer in Japan. When he abandon her she fall in pieces but she resist to the temptation to go back to the USA and find solace in a ramen shoo located near her flat. She is so lonely that ask the shop owner to be his apprentice. The owner, who does not speak English, is a tough Japanese man who in his hearth is missing his young son who has left for Europe deciding not too follow the father footsteps. The girl has to endure shouting and abuse and being ridiculed, until she gets the respect of the owner and his clients. Interesting is that the girl is trying to learn to cook ramen in the western way, thinking with the mind, while the owner tries to make her understand that for the perfect ramen broth you need to use your feeling and emotions which are the ingredients that the customer ultimately is buying. Finally the girls become a ramen chief, open her own shop and find the love of her life
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4/10
boe_dye sez: When will people learn that the ending is just as important as the beginning
boe_dye21 March 2009
This movie was actually pretty good all things considered. Having never seen the original Japanese version I can only assume that the ending was modified for American audiences.

The story was pretty good, and had some undertones of "simply irresistible". However those undertones were very random and never really expounded upon.

Which in the end was the downfall of this movie. While the story line was good, instead of building up, it started to thin out.

So much to the point that the end was a very quick, confusing, and empty.

The random subplots and nuances never bloomed which made the end of this film, and ultimately the whole thing very disappointing.

Yes it did have a happy ending, but it was empty and without depth. Perhaps the problem was that it played itself out as a romantic comedy, when in reality it wasn't really a romance, hence why I think that certain elements were put in place for western audiences.

All in all, it's one of those films that you should really watch if there is absolutely nothing else to do. It is a time waster and background noise.

Britney Murphy is cute and spunky actress, and she brought that to the role, however the editing and the ending is what killed the whole thing.
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4/10
The Karate Kid with Noodles
edward-brough7 January 2012
If you said "The Karate Kid" but with soup and noodles, you'd probably pull the same face I did after watching this movie. That said, it not because the idea is flawed or the movie was badly done. Far from it.

The story was okay, well paced and the Acting was okay. The cinematography was beautiful and the concept, whilst odd at first left me quite pleased. The Major Let Down for this film was Brittany Murphy who seemed to have been out acted by the noodles themselves.

Dry and uninspired, the film promised so much, and without Brittany Murphy could potentially have delivered but your left with that cold empty feeling inside. Murphy seems to act as if she'd only learnt the concept of emotion 3 minutes before she had to act the scene and I whilst I love the rest of the cast, she herself just made me want to switch the movie off every time she appeared. I just wish they'd cast it better.
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9/10
You first think it's cheesy, but then can't stop watching
dna2-786-5616249 July 2010
I watched this movie rather by accident on a plane and then again with my Japanese friend. She complained throughout the movie about the big and small mistakes and inconsistencies such as "the interior in the ram-en shop is so fake", "this red geisha type kimonos in Toshi's room only exist in ninja movies", "we don't clean the toilet with sponge", blah blah blah. But then she wouldn't stop watching till the end. And the Japanese cast is just outstanding. This is the ultimate girlie version of the Karate Kid theme. Makes you really, really want to eat noodle soup, especially when you are a thousand miles away from the next shop.
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4/10
A good idea that needed better development
kurisu-717-13712810 August 2010
I'm surprised so many reviews here have given this film such high remarks. There are things in this movie that really work and things that don't.

The idea isn't a bad one; a girl moves to Tokyo and finds her life upside down and creates a new life for herself in a seemingly unglamorous job. We've seen this formula before (this plot actually seems like a veiled ripoff of a Dharma and Greg episode where Greg becomes a hamburger flipper temporarily) but Brittany Murphy pulls it off better than anyone else can. Sadly, it isn't enough.

The director has taken a bold step, and he deserves to be commended for it. There are a number of scenes where Murphy and the Ramen master exchange dialog and they can't understand each other. Instead of relying on the same old gags they actually created tension where neither character understands each other well. But that's as far as it goes. The scenes with the Ramen master and Murphy fall kind of flat. Are they supposed to be funny? Tense? Dramatic? They get a little of these but they don't go far enough into them. I didn't bust out laughing and I didn't tense up. It was just sort of blah.

Toshiyuki Nishida is also a great actor and he's well known in Japan. But most of his roles have a certain charm and charisma. He doesn't pull off the "tyrannical" thing well, despite his acting ability. He isn't charming enough to be liked and he isn't mean enough to be hated. Instead, he's a cardboard cut out of a stereotypical Japanese chef. At least with a different actor I'd be less disappointed.

The acting ability of Murphy and Nishida carry this film, but the script is weak. Again, not a total failure, but it's like eating a bowl of ramen that's gone cold.
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3/10
Not the best movie to remember Brittany Murphy by
Lawson16 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I wanted so much to like this movie, not just because I watched it after Brittany Murphy's death, but also because I had seen the trailer sometime back and I thought it looked like a lovely West-meets-East fairy tale.

But it was not to be. My patience in holding out for a happy ending was demolished before too long. The Japanese ramen chef is simply too abrasive, with all his yelling and smacking. There was zero chance in developing any affection for him as a lovable old curmudgeon. Even the Japanese katana-maker in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was more lovable than this guy. Murphy's character is not so trying at least, though one has to wonder if she's not a bit masochistic to put up with all the abuse. And jezuz, half the yelling in the movie could be eliminated if either character would just get an interpreter in since neither understands the other. When Murphy starts dating a Jap guy who speaks English, I thought "Finally!" but no, she doesn't even introduce the two men to each other and well, more yelling ensued.

The movie didn't end on a satisfying note either. The grandmaster ramen chef didn't approve of her cooking? Wtf? This is a fluffy fantasy, not a based-on-a-true-story trials and tribulations movie. After all that abuse she put up with, she's still not up to scratch? Well the grumpy chef declared her his successor anyway, upon which she immediate runs back to the US to open her own restaurant. Doesn't seem very grateful to me. Maybe the grandmaster foresaw that. Whatever.
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7/10
Despite the whole weeaboo aspect, it was a pleasant film
KineticSeoul3 November 2009
The story is basically a American slacker coming to Tokyo to meet her American boyfriend, but her boyfriend dumps her after sleeping with her and just leaves her. In despair the girl tries to find joy by putting smile on other peoples faces by making ramen, and soon becomes a apprentice to a ramen chef. I think critics are being too harsh on this movie. It is a pleasant and touching movie and I was grinning at some parts through it. This film can sort of be compared to "The Karate Kid" and it's sort of similar in the way how Daniel Larusso(Ralph Macchio) learns and sort of becomes a apprentice in the beginning to Mr. Miyag(Pat Morita). But in this film Brittany Murphy character Abby becomes a apprentice Maezumi(Toshiyuki Nishida) who put on a good performance, as a matter of fact the chemistry between Abby and Maezumi seem authentic in a apprentice and master kind of way. It also had a bit of "Simply Irresistible"(1999) elements to it. Now I agree with some of the critics that the language barrier between these two characters got a bit annoying after a while and you start to wonder why couldn't they have gotten Abby's new boyfriend to translate for both. And I thought the story was far fetched as well with the spirit in the ramen and all, although how it showed the perfection behind the ramen to be cool. Also some may say the ramen chef is a tyrant in this film but he was just being the typical leader in running a restaurant. And there are a lot of chefs like him in many Asian restaurant and other countries as well, although he goes a bit over board on some scenes. When I first saw the cover of this film I was going to pass on it since it seemed to have weeaboo all over. But decided to give it a try for the heck of it and it turned out to be a pleasant film although it did have some weeaboo aspects to it. And weeaboos will probably enjoy this film than others and get some fantasies in there heads which was the thing I disliked the most about this film. And the undeveloped back story hurt the film as well, there is also a lot of deleted scenes that was taken out for good reasons but some scenes would have been a nice touch if it made it into the whole film. Despite some flaws or aspects I disliked, I found it quite fun.

7/10
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5/10
Almost But Not Quite
joel4dp27 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This movie while watchable did not do justice to the theme of "student becomes master" films. The writers obviously knew but could not allow the lessons being taught to the main protagonist be fully recognized by the student which could have taken this story to a fresh satisfying conclusion. The two western characters added nothing to progress the story and served as a distraction and to show a gaudy western ethos. More time should have been spent on fleshing out the main characters especially the Sensei that on these two.

It was great to see Tsutomu Yamazaki, the Sensei in Tampopo. I highly recommend seeing Tampopo which demonstrates a masterful telling of this type of story.
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