Lasse Hallström revisits familiar territory with The Hundred-Foot Journey, a warmly lit, yet cloyingly corny and drama-free adaptation of Richard C. Morais’ novel of the same name. Talented cook Hassan (Manish Dayal) and his family – Papa (Om Puri) and his other children – relocate to France after a devastating fire, opening an Indian restaurant in a rural village. It’s not all happy endings, however, as their arrival doesn’t sit well with snobby restauranteur Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, The Hundred-Foot Journey has a lot of pedigree behind it, but sadly is unable to transcend its habit of skimming through information and any drama whatsoever. The script, penned by Steven Knight, lavishes in trite dialogue and mawkish sentimentality, leaving a film that, while easy on the eye, is dreadfully bland and prosaic. The performers do what they can with the material. Mirren is on fine form, while Puri steals the show. But for all they try, there’s no escaping the limited screenplay, which ensures that The Hundred-Foot Journey never lives up to its positioning as a culinary treat, let alone culture clash workings.
A longer version of this review was first posted on CineVue.