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What's Cooking?

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: What's Cooking?

Starring: Julianna Marguiles, Alfre Woodard
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: November 2000
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Maury Chaykin, Joan Chen, Mercedes Ruehl, Kyra Sedgwick, Estelle Harris, Dennis Haysbert, Lainie Kazan

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1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

This tasty cinematic Thanksgiving celebration gently interweaves the tension and turmoil of four different Los Angeles families as they prepare turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie for the traditional dinner - along with tamales, spring rolls, kugel, macaroni & cheese. There's also sex, politics and prejudice on the menu, along with philandering husbands, stressed-out wives, prodigal sons, rebellious daughters, meddling grandparents, plus estranged and just plain strange relatives. These surprisingly interconnected Jewish, African-American, Latino and Vietnamese families relish their diversity while acknowledging their buoyant, bonding similarities and generational conflicts. Under the kaleidoscopic direction of British film-maker Gurinder Chada ("Bhaji on the Beach"), who wrote the screenplay with Paul Mayeda Berges, the excellent and extensive ensemble cast includes Alfre Woodard, Julianna Margulies, Kyra Sedgwick, Joan Chen, Mercedes Ruehl, and Maury Chaykin. Unlike Jodie Foster's "Home for the Holidays" (1995) about a dysfunctional family, these frustrated pilgrims are simply coping with the all-too-real problems within the contemporary American melting-pot of cultures - even if, at times, the flavorful syrup spills over into contrived cliches, stereotypes and sentimentality. Credit Jong Lin ("Eat, Drink, Man, Woman") for the mouth-watering, almost surreal cinematography, emblematic of the culinary heritage of the respective ethnic groups and Janice Hampton for judicious editing that allows you to follow each story clearly. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "What's Cooking?" is a sumptuous, succulent, spicy 7, a joyous, nurturing cornucopia, timed for gleeful holiday viewing.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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