Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: What's Cooking?
Amazon Vehicles Editors' Picks Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it Benjamin Leftwich Fire TV Stick Health, Household and Grocery Back to School Totes Summer-Event-Garden Amazon Cash Back Offer ElvisandNixon ElvisandNixon ElvisandNixon  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis Shop Now

Format: Amazon Video|Change
Price:$2.99
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 24, 2005
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.

In the meantime, Audrey Williams (Alfre Woodard) must both cook and make nice with her overly critical mother-in-law, Grace (Ann Weldon), while the former's husband, Ronald (Dennis Haysbert), referees. The state of the couple's marriage is tense, and their teenage son, Michael (Eric George), isn't expected to appear for unstated reasons, which perhaps is just as well as Ronald's approval rating of his boy is at an all-time low.

As the plot evolves, the obvious conflict in each of these households is revealed as only the tip of the iceberg.

Each of these culturally different families prepares its own favorite side dishes to accompany the de rigueur bird. Much screen time is dedicated to food preparation, and it's a joy to watch. My wife and I had a difficult time deciding which meal we'd want to crash. We ultimately decided on the Nguyen feast despite a critical culinary malfunction. KFC anyone?

Director Gurinder Chadha, and Indian woman born in Africa who grew up in London and married a Japanese-American, deftly escalates the tension in each group such that the dysfunction at each Thanksgiving table spirals out of control at the same rate, culminating in an unexpected bridge between the cultures.

WHAT'S COOKING is clever and enormously entertaining, as long as it doesn't happen to you. The fact that such or similar situations are likely commonplace in America's melting pot makes the film all the more reflective of a shared humanity. Kudos to Ms. Chadha for a thoroughly engaging movie equal to, if not better than, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING.
0Comment| 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 6, 2001
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.
0Comment| 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 31, 2001
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.
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 3, 2003
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. The theater was filled with laughter a number of times, and deservedly so. In the end, this is a 'feel-good' film. And one which will also have you salivating throughout, as each family is busy cooking and preparing their Thanksgiving dinners.
This is the second Gurinder Chadha movie that I have seen, and from what I have tell, she seems to really believe the best of people. Yes, we fight. Yes, we quarrel. Yes, we disagree. But at the heart of humanity has to be love and understanding, if we are to get along and survive. "What's Cooking" embodies this sentiment wonderfully. It was a joy to watch.
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 15, 2002
There are indie films,and then there are stay-with-you always amazing indie films. The cast is only the icing to a tale weaved so subtly the ending would blow you away (well, not to give it away).

Like the culinary theme, which also left me hungry, this is one film which will whet your appetite for the acutely accurate portrayal of the immigrant society in America. I know as an Asian I was stunned by the director's resounding voice in her unflinching representation of that community. And the range of emotions it will evoke will leave you laughing, crying, thinking...just from one scene to another. I also appreciate the really uncheesy, un-gratituous lesbian story-line (but of course a lady director would know better!)

So it's a keeper. Buy it so you can share it with people you love and so you can watch it again.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon June 12, 2007
WHAT'S COOKING is a really well-made film about Thanksgiving meals in the homes of four different families (Vietnamese, Mexican-American, African-American and Jewish). The intersecting stories are dramatic, engrossing and touch on subject matter like homosexuality, interracial dating, extramarital affairs and gang violence. I don't want to ruin your experience with this film by getting too involved in plot details. I will say that it manages to depict families from different cultures, celebrating the same holiday together, in an incidental manner so as not to appear excessively "Rainbow Coalition" and politically correct (in other words, you won't feel a chorus of "Kumbaya" coming on). What's more, it has "an all star" cast, including Alfre Woodard and Mercedes Ruehl. I think you'll enjoy it!
33 comments| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 21, 2016
I was so happy to find this movie on Prime because I enjoyed it the first time I saw it several years ago. Thanksgiving being celebrated bin the homes of different ethnic families that showcased the problems, opinions and biases that play out in homes all across America. What really stood out was although this movie was made over 15 years ago the fact that some of the same things they talked about are being said today and that neighbors really don't interact with each other the way we did years ago.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 8, 2013
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. What an entertaining multi cultural, multi generational, multi sexual orientation, learning experience. It helps us be able to smile at ourselves and appreciate the difference of others. We are indeed fortunate to live in a county of such diversity, and in which we can celebrate that diversity.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 25, 2001
What's Cooking is a film that the whole family can enjoy. Well written, acted and directed the film tells the story of four family's of different ethnic backgrounds getting together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Featuring an all star cast featuring Joan Chen, Julianna Margulies, Mercedes Ruehl, Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard and A. Martinez to name a few. Written & Directed by Gurinder Chadha and produced by Jeffrey Taylor, Ethan Hurt and Steven D. Kravitz for Because Entertainment the film skillfully weaves together a story that is both interesting and entertaining. I would highly recommend this film to anybody that enjoys the cinema but is put off by the vulgarity in so many of today's films.
11 comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 2, 2016
What a wonderful mix of cultures and the different ways the holiday was celebrated. It's also a wonderful glimpse into family life and the way people who seem so different can actually be living similar lives in the same neighborhood.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

$3.99

Need customer service? Click here