I don't like movies in which a strong, confident woman learns (often through humiliation) that her life simply isn't going to be fulfilling until she finds herself a man and maybe a child or two. I don't care if it's Bette Davis in Now, Voyager or Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, it's insulting to single women, and I was a single woman for long enough that I still feel insulted. This was the bias I carried into No Reservations, in which Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a top-notch chef and single woman whose life is obviously missing something, and I don't mean a kitchen blowtorch, either.
Zeta-Jones stars as Kate -- and when a single female character shares the name of the title character in The Taming of the Shrew, alarm bells start ringing in my head. Kate is an untiring perfectionist in the kitchen of the bistro where she works to create lovely and delicious cuisine, and you notice that the men in her domain are relegated to the jobs of servers and line cooks. She has a lovely apartment, she dresses beautifully, but she has to see a therapist for "anger issues" because she insults the diners when they don't like her cooking. Oh, and she's not interested in a relationship with her neighbor or anyone else for that matter.
After a tragic family accident, Kate is faced with the possibility of raising her niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin), who is still suffering from grief and shock. When Kate takes time off from the restaurant, her boss (Patricia Clarkson) hires a man to help out, an Italian cook named Nick (Aaron Eckhart). Kate resents the intrusion, but Nick turns out to be an opera-singing, life-loving guy who also gets along well with kids ... I don't need to draw you a picture.