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Today's Special (2010)

Aasif Mandvi , Jess Weixler , David Kaplan  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Aasif Mandvi, Jess Weixler, Harish Patel, Madhur Jaffrey, Naseeruddin Shah
  • Directors: David Kaplan
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Flatiron Film Company
  • DVD Release Date: January 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004K4FUQQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,254 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

Directed with verve by David Kaplan from Aasif Mandvi and Jonathan Bines exceptional screenplay, TODAY'S SPECIAL stars Mandvi as a sous-chef at a Manhattan restaurant whose plans to head to Paris for further culinary study are derailed after his father suffers a heart attack and he must take over the family restaurant in Queens.

Imaginative, warm and witty, the film, inspired by Mandvi's prize-winning play Sakina's Restaurant, is an irresistible delight, its theatrical roots vanishing amid a gracefully cinematic evocation of life in Jackson Heights, a venerable Queens neighborhood with an inviting human scale and grand rooftop vistas of the New York skyline. It is alive with a screen full of captivating characters, all written with affection and exquisitely played by a raft of fine actors.

TODAY'S SPECIAL is a gem of wide appeal, richly deserving of finding an audience. --Los Angeles Times

Aasif Mandvi [has] cooked up a feel-good fable about a talented cook and second-generation Indian, who discovers his destiny and own version of the American Dream when he takes over his father's run-down Tandoori Palace restaurant. While it tracks familiar themes of generational clashes in immigrant families, upward mobility and Old World vs. New World values, Today's Special does so with vigor and a pleasing sense of comedy. Not hurting matters for foreign and Indian film devotees, the film features two icons of Indian cinema, Madhur Jaffrey and Naseeruddin Shah. --New York Daily News

The film, like a great meal, leaves you wanting more. --Hollywood Reporter

Aasif Mandvi [has] cooked up a feel-good fable about a talented cook and second-generation Indian, who discovers his destiny and own version of the American Dream when he takes over his father s run-down Tandoori Palace restaurant. While it tracks familiar themes of generational clashes in immigrant families, upward mobility and Old World vs. New World values, Today s Special does so with vigor and a pleasing sense of comedy. Not hurting matters for foreign and Indian film devotees, the film features two icons of Indian cinema, Madhur Jaffrey and Naseeruddin Shah. --New York Daily News

The film, like a great meal, leaves you wanting more. --Hollywood Reporter

Product Description

Product Description

TODAY'S SPECIAL, a heartwarming comedy with culinary flavor, tells the story of Samir (Aasif Mandvi, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Proposal), a sous chef who dreams of becoming the head chef at an upscale Manhattan restaurant. When he is passed over for a promotion, he impulsively quits and tells his co-worker Carrie (Jess Weixler, Teeth) that he intends to go to Paris and apprentice under a master French chef. But dreams must be put aside after his estranged father, Hakim (Harish Patel, Run, Fat Boy, Run), has a heart attack and Samir is forced to take over Tandoori Palace, the nearly bankrupt family restaurant in Jackson Heights. Samir's mother, Farrida (legendary cookbook writer Madhur Jaffrey), is consumed with trying to find a wife for her son, while Samir is trying to master Indian cooking to salvage the family business. Luckily, he crosses paths with Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah, Monsoon Wedding), a taxi driver, passionate chef and worldly raconteur. Akbar inspires Samir and teaches him to trust his senses more than recipes; to stop measuring his life, and to start truly living it. With Akbar's guidance, Samir has a chance to rediscover his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cooking Video
  • Interview With the Writers
  • Recipe from Madhur Jaffrey

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Indie film February 1, 2011
Format:DVD
This movie was an unexpected charmer! It's the story of a second generation east Indian sous chef, whose mother keeps trying to arrange a marriage for him. He expects to get a promotion as Executive chef of his own restaurant. But they tell him he doesn't have the passion they're looking for. So he quits, and decides to go to Paris to study under a master. Then his immigrant father, whose ethnic restaurant is failing, has a heart attack. Our disgruntled hero, whose knowledge of the cuisine of his heritage is limited, is forced to ask for help from a cab driver who claims to have superb cooking skills. In the mix is a girl from the restaurant from which he resigned, and the characters who hang out at his father's restaurant. I loved the heart and soul of this movie. I'm a life coach, and there were some very believable and tender moments. Yes, the plot was a bit predictable, but the humanity of the characters and their interrelationships drew me in. If you're tired of some of Hollywood's overly self-conscious attempts to be "relevant," give this one a try. It's a "little movie that could."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The genial and engaging "Today's Special" may not hold many surprises, but it has an irresistible charm that is guaranteed to ensure its status as a crowd pleasing favorite. It's a gentle and, dare I say, sweet comedy about searching for success but finding contentment instead in the most unlikely of places. At the end of the day, I may have wished the film had taken a road less traveled--but it's all so big-hearted, why bother quibbling? The film celebrates good food, good friends, good family, good times and throws in a bit of romance for good measure. That's a lot of good in this genuinely appealing movie.

Co-writer Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) stars as a jaded New York chef who's looking to take the next big advance in the culinary world. When by-passed for an expected promotion, Mandvi starts to reconfigure his career and plans to take dramatic steps to meet his ambitions. His meddlesome parents don't seem to understand him and, in return, he holds the family's Indian restaurant in disdain. Through the magic of movie plotting, Mandvi (of course) finds himself temporarily in charge of the dilapidated venue. With the help of an "only in the movies" wizened cab driver/cook/mentor figure, he starts to appreciate the art of Indian food. Can he transform the restaurant? And, in the process, will it transform him? If you've ever seen a movie, I suspect you can guess the answer to these questions. And yet, the picture still works mostly due to its likable cast and underdog appeal.

"Today's Special" capitalizes on the quirky allure that so many films employ today.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Today's Special": A Cinematic Treat March 17, 2011
By Bambi
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Most of the films in the same genre as "Today's Special" Today's Special (Indian-Pakistani immigrant/2nd generation) bravely address important issues, for example, interracial romance/marriage ("Bend it Like Beckham", "Bhaji on the Beach"). All of them highlight, often in quite serious ways, the tension between immigrant parents and their children ("East is East"). Watching these films is generally accompanied with a certain amount of malaise at the worst and deep introspection at the least. (Allow me to explain.) This is because most Indian/Pakistani immigrant films make it their moral responsibility to explore, again and again and in serious ways, immigrant issues which resonate, on a very personal level with many viewers. The result: viewers like myself (2nd generation Indian) are forced to deliberate said issues. While contemplation of one's community and one's self is a noble activity, it can become quite a chore when one simply wants to enjoy a film. After watching all immigrant/2nd generation Indian-Pakistani films since "Mississippi Masala", I am frankly tired of thinking about interracial marriage and societal expectations ("Monsoon Wedding"). For one, I've thought about these issues enough, thank you very much, and two, when these issues are portrayed on the big screen, their portrayal has become more and more formulaic. Can't I just watch a 'feel-good' film about my community, laugh a little and call it a night? Why must I be bombarded with issue after immigrant issue? If you are like me or if you are tired of the formulaic, often overly serious/emotional films about immigrant experiences then you WILL LOVE "Today's Special"! Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest Look Into The Mirror February 10, 2012
By MadMacs
Format:DVD
Samir is a self-assured, accomplished and extremely diligent sous chef. His hard work has earned him a position as second-in-command at a high profile eatery. And, having paid his dues the past six years, he expects to be tapped to head his boss' latest expansion restaurant. He's so secure in that knowledge that, when it's announced through a trade publication that a junior chef that he oversees will be given the prestigious position, he is utterly dumbstruck.

Angry, confused and frothing - he demands an explanation. The top chef explains to him that he's competent, efficient, and very much an excellent lieutenant, but he just doesn't have what it takes to be a head chef. The boss hesitates giving him a full and honest critique until he's pushed into a corner and relents. He tells Samir that, in his opinion, he lacks the verve, the passion, and the simple love of cooking.

Stunned and emotionally devastated - he quits. Deciding he needs to make a big move, both physically and professionally, he puts out feelers to hire on as a Parisian 'stodge' (stàge), essentially an unpaid intern; working for free to understudy with a French master in the belief that he will prove them all wrong.

At the very moment he makes that decision - his father, a restauranteur himself, suffers a heart attack.

It's not life-threatening, but it is life-changing. What Samir doesn't realize is that it's his life that will change the most.

Having had to postpone his plans until his dad can recover, he's now in charge of the family business. It's a rundown hole-in-the-wall serving Indian food. Ironically, having spent his entire life avoiding and denying his own cultural heritage, it's something he can't cook.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Todays Special
I am not a indie fan at all but after watching the movie, i can honestly say this is one of the best movies i have seen in a long,long time. Read more
Published 26 days ago by rick russo
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable movie
*SPOILER ALERT*

This is a great movie my wife and I very much enjoy.

Aasif Mandavi plays a chef, Samir, who is a talented if less than creative sous chef at a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by A4Q96
5.0 out of 5 stars Today's Special dvd
Very cute film. Someone said it reminded them of "My Greek Wedding". I think it's more mystical. A feel good movie.
Published 3 months ago by JEO
5.0 out of 5 stars this was a good movie!! a big surprise!!
never heard about this movie. read about it on netflix, it sounded good, so i rented it and really enjoyed it, so i bought it for my collection!!
Published 5 months ago by Brown Bear
4.0 out of 5 stars Aasif Mandvi is superb
Funny (yet a little predictable) film for all the family. Aasif Mandvi is excellent and really shows he has what it takes to be funny on the big screen. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Brian L Williamson
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly entertaining
Perfect casting & acting. Humor, pathos, great food! Light and entertaining with warm ending. Settings excellent, adding to authenticity of effect.
Published 6 months ago by Vinnie Dickinson
5.0 out of 5 stars charming movie
Delightful and entertaining in a warm and sweet way. If you like an old fashioned movie with fun, family and a few good lessons about life this one is for you.
Published 7 months ago by yvonne serio
5.0 out of 5 stars Today's Special
This is a lovely family "son makes good, finally" movie as well as a romantic comedy that will bring tears to ones eyes. Highly recommend.
Published 9 months ago by Christine
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
Aasif Mandvi, from the Daily Show, does a great job of acting. Basically it is a light-hearted drama with some good humor mixed in.
Published 9 months ago by C. Sundry
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and funny
I just randomly picked this out, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Some good laughs,
not heavy or violent....just good entertainment....my kind of movie...
Published 9 months ago by B. Marks
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