TL;DR – There are moments when this film comes together. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Romance on the Menu Review –
Do long lost relatives ever give you a call to adventure in their wills, no you neither? Well, it does seem to be a ubiquitous plot point in films. Today we explore a movie that as fate would have it has that very set up, that takes our protagonist from the hustle and bustle of New York to the calm of Australia.
So to set the scene, Caroline (Cindy Busby) works as a professional chef running a kitchen of a fine dining restaurant. The one day she took off they had a food critic come and blast the food, so she spends all her time trying to make up for that. Caroline does not have any time for love because she is too busy. However, out of the blue, Caroline receives a letter from Australia, her late aunt had left Caroline her old café in Lemon Myrtle Cove. When Caroline arrives to look over the café to get it ready to sell, she makes a fool of herself in front of Simon Cook (Tim Ross) who is both her landlord and also the cook of The Seagull Café, and yes our love interest. Well, Caroline’s plan of finishing the sale as quickly as possible is put in jeopardy when no one will renovate the café to let her sell it, so she has to take drastic measures to keep to her timeline.
I do have to say that this is a weird film for me to review because it was filmed in my metaphorical back yard. Like if you live in Vancouver or New York or Los Angeles, you are probably used to this. However, there is a certain oddness at watching locations that you know and have visited, pretending to be somewhere else and in more than a generic city street gets dressed up as New York for Thor kind of way. So you get put in these awkward situations where you go ‘that’s not how you get pippies’ only for the film to swerve and show the correct way of doing it. It is all just a little odd and took a little while to get adjusted too. For a romance to work, you have to connect with both the parties and so you want them to get together eventually. Unfortunately, this film is missing that drive for most of its runtime. I mean it has the right set up, two people from opposing worlds smashed together, tension about a plan that some want to succeed, and others fail. But it all gets lost in the wash. There is so much awkward and stilted dialogue that you can’t help but get taken out of the story moment after moment.
Also, there are moments throughout the film that feel almost like they are falling into an uncanny valley. Like a lot of the cooking does not look right and I can’t put my finger on why it is, but it feels off. People are talking about music that’s not there, awkward transitions, and more. It just feels like there was a layer of production that didn’t quite land. This is added too by a story that, at times, can be best described as ham-fisted as plot elements just get thrown into the mix with little thought of how it fits with the characters. While I feel I have been quite negative with this film, it is only because there are moments when it all comes together. When you feel the connection, feel the charm. However, those moments are few in-between and get lost in the shuffle when it all falls apart. A good example of which is the ending that oscillates back and forward so many times that it loses meaning.
In the end, do we recommend Romance on the Menu? Unfortunately, I don’t think we can. Some moments shine, but they are just moments and not a whole film. If you did like Romance on the Menu, I would also recommend Falling Inn Love.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Romance on the Menu
Directed by – Rosie Lourde
Written by – Alison Spuck McNeeley & Casie Tabanou
Music by – Jazz D’Arcy
Cinematography by – Jason Hargreaves
Edited by – Charlotte Cutting & Adrian Powers
Production/Distribution Companies – The Steve Jaggi Company & Netflix
Starring – Cindy Busby, Tim Ross, Naomi Sequeira, Peter Bensley, Marita Wilcox, Barbara Bingham, Perry Mooney, Joey Vieira, Gavin Zimmerman & Mr Big
Rating – Australia: PG;