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What's Cooking? (2000)

Joan Chen , Julianna Margulies , Gurinder Chadha  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Chen, Julianna Margulies, Mercedes Ruehl, Victor Rivers, Douglas Spain
  • Directors: Gurinder Chadha
  • Writers: Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges
  • Producers: Abe Glazer, Beau Rogers, David Forrest, David Grace, Ethan Hurt
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2003
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000092T3G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,313 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "What's Cooking?" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Mercedes Ruehl, Julianna Margulies. Warm portrait of four families who come together for Thanksgiving and express themselves through their cooking. 2000/color/110 min/PG-13.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best eat and run with a Turkey Day fast-food burger February 24, 2005
Format:DVD
After reaching adulthood, a family Thanksgiving celebration became problematic as I don't consider turkey (or the ham alternative) a festive dish. I'm not hard pressed to think of a better way to spend my time - such as going out for a burger and a movie. WHAT'S COOKING only reinforces my curmudgeonly attitude, but also left me with a smile.

This film has a cast of thousands. Let's just say that it involves four American families of varied background - Jewish, Black, Vietnamese, Mexican Latino - gathering for the Turkey Day ritual. Each has a festering dysfunction.

Ruth and Herb Seelig (Lainie Kazan and Maury Chaykin) welcome their daughter Rachel (Kyra Sedgwick) home for the holiday. Rachel brings her lesbian lover Carla (Julianna Margulies), much to Mom and Dad's discomfiture. Additional relatives, not yet clued in, are scheduled to drop by.

Trin and Duc Nguyen (Joan Chen and François Chau) have just had #2 son ejected from school. If that isn't enough, Trin has found a condom among #1 daughter's possessions. And #1 son isn't bothering to attend the gala affair at all, but is secretly going to the home of his Latino girlfriend, the Avilas.

Mrs. Elizabeth Avila (Mercedes Ruehl) is separated from her husband Javier (Victor Rivers) since he had a tempestuous affair with her cousin. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, son Tony (Douglas Spain) has invited Papa over for the holiday meal as he has nowhere else to go. Unbeknownst to Tony, Mom has her own bombshell to drop. And, of course, the Avila daughter, Sofia (Maria Carmen), has invited her non-Latino boyfriend.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Decent - Good for a Rental June 6, 2001
By Mr. JKW
Format:DVD
For a movie I never heard of(being in the theaters), this was a surprisingly decent movie. The movie basically follows four families (a Hispanic family, Vietnamese family, African-American family and a Jewish family) as they prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Overall, it is a nice family movie despite the obvious dysfunction in each family (which is pretty realistic I suppose).
Among the "issues" addressed in this movie: lesbian relationships, marital infidelity, the generation gap between parents and children, single parent homes, and gun violence.
The ending of the movie surprisingly ties everything together into a nice bow but you still feel at the end of the movie like, "What a wacky world we live in."
Overall, the movie itself is a nice watch, worthy of an afternoon rental viewing. It's definitely not a waste of money.
Among the special DVD features in this film are interviews and commentaries from cast and crew members on a WIDE VARIETY OF TOPICS. The interviews are so-so. They're not worth the price of admission, but it's an "okay" bonus. The special feature in the DVD section I really liked were the recipes for some of the delicious dishes served up in some of the families' Thanksgiving dinners. That's a great DVD bonus.
Here's my rundown:
Great: The recipes in the DVD special features
Good: The overall movie itself (storyline, acting, etc).
Okay: The DVD bonus interviews, commentaries, etc
Bad: The pure dysfunction...but it's unfortunately all too true in our society...
Overall, a nice effort for the cast and crew and the DVD makers.
Recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Directed by Gurinder Chadha, this good ensemble piece centers on four Los Angeles families (in various stages of dysfunction) attempting to come together over Thanksgiving dinner. Though the story lines are familiar, the laughter and emotions keep this movie from being a leftover Turkey sandwich.
The fantastic ensemble cast includes the always wonderful Alfre Woodard as a woman fighting the stress of maintaining peace in her family. Mercedes Ruehl turns in another good performance as a level-headed matriarch rebounding from a cheating husband. Kyra Sedgwick and Julianna Margulies are delicious as a lesbian couple trying not to spar with one set of parents (enably played by Lainie Kazan and Maury Chakin). Joan Chen is also great playing a tradition-based parent losing a battle against her rebelling teenage kids. Toss in Estelle Harris for extra laughs and wonderful turns from much of the supporting cast, and you can't go wrong.
Though the movies' editing is somehwat choppy, it comes together nicely at the end. I'd highly recommend filling your plate with an extra helping of this gem. The enjoyment of laughter, possible tears, and multi-ethnic traditions make this one a winner.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Melting Pot September 3, 2003
Format:DVD
Much like her 2003 hit movie "Bend It Like Beckham", Gurinder Chadha's "What's Cooking?" is infused with people who love one another very much, and so even though some tough issues are thrown their way, we know that, because of that love, they will get through life's obstacles ok.
"What's Cooking" centers around four families living on the same block in Los Angeles. They don't know each other, however, and instead, like most modern families, are focused on their own problems and worries. Chadha makes good use of "the American melting pot" idea, as one family is Italian, one is hispanic, one is black, and one is Asian. One of the most wonderful aspects of the movie is that, even though the people are of different ethnicities, they are portrayed respectfully as human beings. We can relate to each of them. They are different, but the same. Isn't that the underlying truth of us all? People are, indeed, people.
There are some nice performances here: Alfre Woodard is great as a stressed, neglected wife. Dennis Haysbert is quiet, cool and simmering as her husband. Mercedes Ruehl shines as the mother of the hispanic family, trying to move on with her life from an ex-husband that just won't understand that it's over between them. Kyra Sedgwick and Julianna Margulies are endearing as a lesbian couple on their first trip to meet the parents. Estelle Harris (of "Seinfeld" fame) is deliciously wicked as the aunt who just keeps pushing the issue. And, of course, there's Lainie Kazan -- always a treat.
I saw this film at Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival in 2003, and it was very well-received. There are dramatic, serious moments, and then there are quite hilarious moments.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
I am making this movie a Thanksgiving tradition. It is so great. Thanksgiving is an international holiday, with no religious overtones, so Americans of all backgrounds enjoy it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bunnymom
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Thanksgiving movie!
I have forgotten how many times I've watched this movie, it's a great feel good movie. I love the surprise ending.
Published 1 month ago by Ms Marie H Jeno
5.0 out of 5 stars great thanksgiving movie
I love to watch this movie around the holidays,especially thanksgiving. There aren't that many thanksgiving movies out there. Read more
Published 2 months ago by N A
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality story and educational
I need to watch this movie for a Cultural Diversity final in college. It is a fun watch for anyone and does a great job highlighting different cultures, age groups, racial issues... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jim Long
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Best Holiday Movies, Yet Fun Anytime of Year
This movie, in my opinion, is the best Thanksgiving holiday movie that has been made to date, and it is fun to watch at any time of the year. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JACK FENDER
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good unknown movie
Nice clean movie, good story line. Really comes together good. Never heard of it before but sure enjoyed. Good acting.
Published 4 months ago by Timbo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Multicultural Family Thanksgiving Movie
Its a good representation of America and how we each celebrate Thanksgiving depicting the unifying correlation of the importance of family.
Published 4 months ago by Mary Grippo
3.0 out of 5 stars ONLY SO_SO
This movie can't decide what it wants to be... a comedy or a melodama. It ends up being neither one, although it is mildly entertaining at the holiday season.
Published 4 months ago by guitar zero
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story!
Great ending!!!
Love how the story Blends all the different cultures. Feel good movie! A sleeper movie that was lost in the shuffle for me. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Christina A Whitcanack
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film worth watching
This is a great film and not very popular. I was happy to find it in DVD and have it shipped to me.
Published 5 months ago by Rhonda F.
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