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"Tasting Menu": A Food-as-Life Metaphor That Never Leaves the Table 

Wednesday, May 14 2014
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It's closing night at a fancy restaurant on the coast of Spain. A genial celebrity chef (Vicenta N'Dongo), whose movie this seems to be until it abandons her, has decided to step back and survey her life. First she'll oversee one last feast of ensemble rom-com melodrama, brought out in a haphazard array of unsatisfyingly small, bland portions. The restaurant's posh clientele includes a successful author (Claudia Bassols) and her two suitors (Jan Cornet, Timothy Gibbs); a pair of reticent Japanese investors (Togo Igawa, Akihiko Serikawa) and their chatterbox local handler (Marta Torné); a widowed countess (Fionnula Flannagan) who dines beside her husband's ashes and meddles unproductively in everyone else's affairs; and a mysterious loner (Stephen Rea) who exists just to add an extra layer of plot. Director Roger Gual seems to want to whip up something tasty and familiar having to do with human communication problems — which he himself may have experienced in telling his uncertain-seeming performers what to do. The film keeps tabs on its characters conscientiously, but doesn't get us to care much about any of them. An unfortunate misfire in the movies-about-feasts milieu, it inspires only the weary feeling of having run out of polite dinner conversation and hoping for the check.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

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SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

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