Today's Special (2009) Poster

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9/10
Delightful ethnic comedy!
kathik26 April 2010
The excellent comedic talent, Aasif Mandvi, plays a lovable character named Samir in a very funny comedy about Samir's life in New York. He works as a sous chef in a nice restaurant with the hope of becoming a full chef in his boss's newly opening restaurant. When that position fails to materialize for him, Samir quits in a huff and decides to move to Paris for an unpaid position with a famous chef there.

Not too surprisingly, it turns out he needs to stay in New York because of a family crisis (I won't say what) and Samir's help is needed with the family business. A thoroughly delightful story follows that is full of heart and full of humor, for a totally enjoyable experience! Highly recommended!
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9/10
Evoked a gastronomic delight in Indian cuisine...inspiring with a peculiar sense of humor
sribulusu12 February 2012
Rating and review:***** A great movie for the weekend. Funny and also will definitely stir your appetite or may even motivate the Chef hiding within you to get into the kitchen if you are a foodie !! I enjoyed and chuckled with the idiosyncratic behavior of the characters in the movie. It well depicted, with humor the generation gap of ethnic Indians raised in the West. No one else could have fit into the role Naseeruddin Shah played. cheers ! I wish more movies of this genre are made. I love the concept of blending into the Western culture while preserving the roots of ones own as show in this movie. That makes people more interesting. Enough of monotonous meat and potatoes I say !!
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8/10
Relevant, witty, and uplifting.
slackergirl4221 February 2012
This is a heartfelt, amusing film starring Aasif Mandvi, mostly known for his work as a Daily Show correspondent. It's not quite as funny as I expected from a comedian of his caliber; not because he tried and failed, but because it's more of a quirky story of a personal journey. But there were definitely a good number of lines that were so funny I had to repeat them out loud to myself. It's a bit slow in the beginning (could have used some tighter editing), but give it some time to build. Naseeruddin Shah is magic, as always. If you know his work, nothing more needs to be said. If not, watch this and enjoy. (And I gotta say, I think he looks damn good for his age!) It is not a coincidence that the song Akbar (Shah) is listening to when Samir (Mandvi) first meets him is from a classic Hindi film in which the character says that although all his clothes come from other countries, his heart is still Indian. Samir has tried to cut himself off from Indian traditions, even while his parents are attempting to shove them down his throat; the more they push, the more he pulls away, and vise versa. Throughout the film, with help from unexpected places, he learns to reconcile his western life with his heritage, and appreciate where he came from.
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8/10
Excellent cast, story and direction
chuckbutler15 November 2010
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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9/10
An absolute joy. If you're not happier at the end then you need to take some medication.
alan-51-1119748 February 2012
Yes this is a feel good movie and in some ways an adult coming of age movie but it's in no way stupid or trite.

The performances of all are impeccable, even the smallest of characters seem real and fully formed. The soundtrack is also fabulous.

Some of the plot I could see coming about a mile in advance but I really didn't care because I was enjoying it so much.

The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi co-wrote and starred in this, this may put some more conservative viewers off but then they probably wouldn't watch the movie anyway because it's about Muslims in New York. I may be turning into Bill Maher.

I guess there's really no reason why I should try to persuade conservatives to watch it... except... it's a gem. Warning... may contain brown people.

It's sensitive, heartwarming, funny and uplifting without too many obvious clichés and as Aasif Mandvi's first movie, it's a triumph for him and a joy for us.
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10/10
Very Warm and Memorable Film
My wife and I sat down expecting to see a low budget flick. Turns out, the acting, plot, sets and script are engaging and warm. A real family film also touching on generational issues as well as the love of doing something one really loves and overcoming fear in just living one's life

The only negative (and a minor point) is that there were no subtitles, causing one to really concentrate on some actors as the some were, at times, hard to understand. However, this also made us concentrate even more on watching the film and may have even added to overall appreciation

Very enjoyable.A very touching and human movie.
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10/10
Wow great movie... left me smiling =)
jayzdude29 April 2012
Saw this movie floating around on netflix. I was really bored one night and decided to check out the movie. I was glad I did, its one of those movies that just leaves you in a better mood than when you started: a feel good movie! The acting is good with really likable characters especially the cab driver/cook whose character I just love. I never really was a fan of The Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi. Didn't like the humor or anything too much but he is great in this movie and can actually act. Now fair warning, I liked this movie a lot in part due to my ability to relate/understand the culture behind the story (I am an Indian college student in the USA) and also love the old school Hindi songs in it (hooked me into the movie). The movie is also typical in some of its approach and formula, it isn't anything new or groundbreaking. But nonetheless it is very enjoyable and isn't just restricted to brown people lol. This movie is easy to relate to if you are a first generation foreigner (of any country IMO). It just enhances the movie experience. I'll definitely will be showing this movie to my friends. The movie fits a nice category of movies that isn't very abundant: a great light drama, semi romantic, light comedy. Another movie I would include in that category would be Morning Glory with Rachel McAdams.

Bottomline: give this movie a chance and watch it, you won't be disappointed!

Extra awesomeness--- Dennis Duffy (30 Rock) is in it (for a bit)! Love me some 30 Rock
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9/10
Good film, great fun
charlotte-pierce3310 January 2012
This is a really cute little film that will leave you feeling great, as well as hungry! All of the food looks awesome, and I like the way that they talk about it with such passion. Perfect film for chilling at home with some Indian takeout.

Aasif Mundvi is of course awesome as the caustic sarcastic Senior Muslim Correspondent on the Daily Show, but he shows a different side to his acting as the determined but troubled Samir. Naseeruddin Shah is brilliant as the taxi driver/chef. I loved his references to this crazy life that he has lead, and the way he really demonstrates passion and skill at cooking. Madhur jaffrey was a nice surprise as well. I have only seen her on the cover of cookbooks and jars of sauce, I didn't realize she could act as well! The story is simple but well told. You really feel for Aasif, and this is what carries the film along. Definitely recommend buying it on DVD when it comes out Jan 24th.
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3/10
Dangerous to diabetics
sy-598-1570462 February 2013
Lighter than light, frothier than froth, sweeter than sweet, with an impressive lack of attention to trivial things like character, continuity, or motivation. This film wasn't written so much as it was constructed out of existing bits and pieces, with any element of surprise or originality clinically excised. On the bright side, it was slickly filmed and lit, with some nice food shots which rescued it from being rated zero stars.

I wanted to like this movie. Independent, "small" film, some talented actors, and about a subject I love, all things that would predispose me to forgive minor flaws. Nope, even with that head-start, "Today's Special" made me wish that I had that 2 hours of my life back.

It might make a decent date film if you're trying to impress someone who's a bit shallow and slow.
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8/10
I love cooking movies.
MartinHafer11 January 2014
Over the years, I have noticed that most cooking movies are really great entertainment. "Babette's Feast", "Big Night" and "Bella Martha" are a few great cooking films I have seen and so I was looking forward to seeing "Today's Special". Fortunately, my expectations were met. While not quite in the same league as these three films, it was very close--and a film I can heartily recommend.

Aasif Mandva plays Samir--an Indian-American who is classically trained and has dreams of going to France to further his culinary education. Unfortunately, just before he leaves, his father has a heart attack and Samir is forced to stay and run his family's horrible Indian restaurant. I say horrible because the place is filthy, the chef is a filthy pig and the food is wretched. Truly Samir has his work cut out for him--particularly because he knows nothing about Indian cooking. By chance, he happens to meet a cabbie who claims he knows how to cook well and Samir hires him to work in the restaurant. What's next? See the film as there is so much more to the movie--such as Samir's very problematic relationship with his father, Samir's pathetic dating life and his father's plans to sell the restaurant! Why did I like this film? Well, it had a wonderful ensemble cast. So many of the supporting characters were very cute and likable. Additionally, Naseeruddin Shah did a lovely job as the cabbie cook--which was a very important foundation for the film. Well worth seeing, a bit funny and with a lot of heart.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, another wonderful film about cooking is "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman". If you can think of any others let me know--I am always in the mood for a good food film.
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10/10
Missing a couple of the usual clichés
rickd2424 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Never heard of this movie but was looking thru Amazon Prime for something to watch, saw that it had Aasif Mandvi as the star, was also about food, and thought I'd give it a try. I was glad I did, very enjoyable movie after a bit of a slow start.

I agree with pretty much all of the other reviews but I wanted to point a couple of other things I really liked - leaving out a couple of the usual clichés you see in movies like this. 1) Normally I would expect the lead character to say something stupid to lose the girl, then manage to get her back again. He did say something stupid, but she just laughed it off instead of stomping off. Nice. 2) Immigrant parents NEVER like the blond girlfriend in these kinds of movies, at least not at the beginning until they eventually come around. They mentioned it but didn't even come close, again they laughed it off. Also nice.

Best part of the movie was any scene with Naseeruddin Shah, he really stole the movie. Anyone notice that he frequently talked like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof? Both in cadence and in the things he said. Don't know if it was intentional or not but it added some enjoyment of the movie.
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10/10
Good Movie
elenacalvillo27 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very good movie, although I do not understand why it is rated R. What I liked in this movie is that he shown himself to become a better chef through his culture. Towards the ending, I liked how his parents accepted his own sous chef because usually many Indian parents do not allow out of culture/race relationship with the opposite gender. I find this movie to be very inspirational because he has started off as a good chef, then things turned down with his job, fathers restaurant, parents relationship, and what else is troublesome, but he turned into a great business man, and made his fathers restaurant better. I would like to know what happens towards the end, because I want to find out if he got married and had more kids with his love.
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5/10
choking on clichés
Rob-O-Cop24 December 2016
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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10/10
A tapestry of complex themes made simple.
edmovemore27 March 2011
I enjoy this movie immensely because it made me laugh, cry and appreciate the spices-favors of different types of food. The universal themes focus on this motion picture were palpable. I must admit, I felt going out to dinner to an Indian Joint after seeing this movie. I really wanted to have some of that golden spice. The character made this a great story because they were beautifully played because their vulnerabilities were easy to feel. You should watch this movie if you want to be moved. I recommend going to dinner after watching "Today Special", in order to enhance your viewing experience.

I also, like the the fact that this motion picture has openly accepted the main stream view of inter-racial relationships with Westerners. Yet another reason to go see it!!!
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9/10
Best movie you've never heard of!
plumneptune9 July 2018
The character of the taxi driver will not soon be forgotten. Excellent, feel good film!
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8/10
Feelgood Foodie comedy
jerome-e30 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, I'll admit I like "foodie" movies. And I like movies where the underdog gets out from under. After watching this movie I had to go out for Indian food, that's how much I liked it. Good characters (Including the surly Russian waiter), The one-word Pierre, and the trio of older Indian gentlemen. Special kudos to our taxi driver (you'll see). Storyline is not too surprising, but the acting and the food just make this one of those movies I'll watch once a year. Recommended watching (but make sure to have something to nibble on while you do!
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10/10
Massively enjoyable
diane-3430 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Diane and I saw this enjoyable film last night and equally enjoyed the entire movie meaning that there were no slow spots anywhere in the film. Neither one of us knew any more about what we were to see accept that which was written on the back of the box containing the CD; therefore, the development of the movie was paced very well thanks to the director's sure grip on the progression of the film.

The cast universally played their roles extremely well. The film revolves around the failure of an Indian restaurant in New York and is saved, improbably, by an Indian raconteur.

Those wiser in the ways of movie scripting will say, quite correctly, that "Today's Special" is made up of "cardboard characters" with an easily anticipated script moves and I totally agree with those commentators; however, Diane and I, she of the much wiser movie critique ability, enjoyed the layout of this film very much. The characters were so good and as Indian film notables, so believable that any criticism can be deflected. Although there were only two major female roles it would be a definite must see "chic flic."
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8/10
Kumar Pallana, RIP
lee_eisenberg2 September 2014
"Today's Special" will be most appealing (appetizing?) to people who love to cook, but anyone who likes Indian food is bound to like it. Aasif Mandvi (the senior Asian correspondent on "The Daily Show") plays an Indian-American sous chef who starts taking an interest in his own culture's cuisine. The movie is half look at South Asian food, half look at Indian-American families (with pushy parents). Naseeruddin Shah's taxi driver/gourmet chef is the funniest character in the movie, the perfect contrast to Mandvi's nervous nice guy.

It's a really fun movie. It was of course impressive to see Madhur Jaffrey - herself a doyenne of Indian cuisine - but another cast member who caught my eye was Kumar Pallana, who died last year. He owned an Indian restaurant in Dallas, and his customers included Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, who cast him in "Bottle Rocket", "Rushmore", "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Darjeeling Limited". Steven Spielberg also gave him a supporting role in "The Terminal".

Anyway, I recommend this movie.
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9/10
Director David Kaplan Is The Special Of The Day
johnstonjames30 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
i love having recently discovered director David Kaplan and this movie only confirmed my belief that he is one of the best film directors in today's cinema.

this film is as appealing and as fun as a visit to a trendy new Indian cuisine restaurant. it's one of those kind of low budget, feel good movies about overcoming obstacles much the way the original 'Rocky' was some thirty or more years ago. 'Rocky' was thought highly enough to be best picture material and i don't find this movie any less notable. it's definitely top ten, best film material and a must see for feeling good and thinking smart.

David Kaplan is truly a "top chef" filmmaker with a real gift for traditions and folklore and he explores ethnic themes in America quite well as he did in this film and in his Asian American fantasy "Year of the Fish".

i would recommend this culinary delight to everyone and couldn't imagine anyone not liking it, but then again there are always those with permanent indigestion. fun and smart movie.
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3/10
Watching in 2017, he's a real loser son/chef wannabe
mkwc-998612 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Maybe this show was good in 2009, but watching this in 2017 is a waste of time. It's not even worth my time to write a long review, but 20 mins in, I stopped watching. The 'star' is a loser chef who can't cook his own cuisine to save his life. His dad is a loser restaurant owner who hired shitfaced 'chefs' to run his kitchen. Apparently their saviour is a superstar Indian chef who has to drive a taxi for a living because life sucks like that.

By today's standards, if he was a great chef, he wouldn't stand for his own father's restaurant being the dirty run-down place it was. The employees were stubborn and defiant - he should've fired them but no, he - a chef, mind you - was so scared when his dad's crap chef quit that he had to order Indian food from another Indian restaurant to serve his customers who were already waiting probably 10 mins in the restaurant. Seriously?

I get it, 2009 was a very different world. This movie just isn't watchable in post-internet startupland 2017.
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