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?


Madhur Jaffrey, who plays Samir's mother, is a celebrated expert in Indian cuisine, and the author of many cookbooks. See more »


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


References Kabhie Kabhie (1976) See more »


The Grocery Store
Written by Siddhartha Khosla
Performed by 'Goldspot'
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent cast, story and direction
15 November 2010 | by chuckbutlerSee all my reviews

Today's Special is a movie with a great mix of humor, family, romance and humanity. It has nothing that I consider objectionable but I also think that it has very little that will appeal to kids. Although the end is a bit predictable and a bit slow at times (thus making it not a 10), it's one of the most entertaining films I've seen this year (and I've seen a lot of movies this year).

I would like to know why I don't remember seeing Naseeruddin Shah (who plays the memorable character Akbar (the cab driver/chef))in a movie before. He's the best of an excellent cast.

I found myself caring a great deal for the main character Samir (Assif Mandiv) which doesn't happen often in most movies I see (even the good ones). Today's Special centers entirely on the characters and the story. If your looking for a movie with lots of computer generated images (CGI) and/or other special effects and/or stunts and/or violence and/or action and/or sex, go see something else.

It was nice to see a movie that doesn't stereotype Muslims as terrorists and that many in the audience clapped for when it was over. I think most adults who enjoy a few very good laughs and a good story will enjoy this movie a great deal.

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