20 user 17 critic

Today's Special (2009)

2:23 | Trailer

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In this super-feel-good foodie comedy, young Manhattan chef Samir rediscovers his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.


David Kaplan


Aasif Mandvi (screenplay), Jonathan Bines (screenplay) | 1 more credit »





Credited cast:
Dean Winters ... Steve
Jess Weixler ... Carrie
Aarti Mann ... Henna (as Aarti Majmudar)
Aasif Mandvi ... Samir
Kevin Corrigan ... Stanton
Amir Arison ... Dr. Semaan
Ajay Naidu ... Munnamia
Naseeruddin Shah ... Akbar
Erica Peeples ... Waitress
Chloe Brooks ... Woman #2 (as Chloe Cmarada)
Kevin Breznahan ... Freddie
Madhur Jaffrey ... Farrida
Kumar Pallana ... Regular #2
Harish Patel ... Hakim
Angela Lewis ... Woman Looking at Menu


Samir is a sous chef in Manhattan. He quits when he's not promoted - his boss says his cooking lacks soul. He decides to find an unpaid internship in Paris, but his father suffers a heart attack keeping him home for a few weeks. Samir must run the family's failing Indian restaurant in Queens. He can't cook Indian food, so things get dire when the chef quits: Samir tracks down Akbar, a cabbie who claims to have cooked for British royalty in Bombay. Akbar cooks with mind, heart, and gut - and offers philosophy as well. With the help of Carrie, whom he met at the Manhattan restaurant, Samir begins to enjoy the work. But will his father approve, and if not, what then? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

chef | cooking | cook | food | indian food | See All (33) »


Life Has No Recipe



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

11 November 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Untitled Aasif Mandvi Feature Project See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$90,639, 21 November 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$400,654, 3 April 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The restaurant shown in the movie is now Thakali Kitchen in Flushing, NY, specializing in Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. See more »


Akbar: They don't know what they want. They only know what they've had!
See more »


References Aasha (1957) See more »


Ina Mina Dika
Arranged by Siddhartha Khosla
Performed by Goldspot
See more »

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User Reviews

choking on clichés
24 December 2016 | by Rob-O-CopSee all my reviews

I don't think I've seen quite so many trite clichés of food based rom coms packed into a single movie, or at least noticed them so badly. They've got a decent case against the 2014 movie Chef http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2883512/reference which pretty much stole the vibe of this movie on the food side of things. The Cliché family aspects we've seen so many times, the formulaic food as art tropes, standard rom com touchstones, they're all here exactly as they have been in many other movies before and obviously after (see aforementioned Chef 2014). They were just so damn strong in this film, overpowering, overwhelming to the point of it making me feel irritable and uncomfortable. The only saving graces here were the original Indian soundtrack and some of the Indian culture insights, which did go deeper than standard Hollywood tokenism. The production values as far as cinematography and sound were fine, just the tired and pilfered template they pasted it all over was a waste of everyone's time. I wanted it to be over round about when it started.

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