Emma has woken up to the realisation that she is in a lacklustre marriage. She only knows how to add spice to her life in one way, by squirting it from a bottle of hot sauce. The rest of her life is cushy but bland. When she needs the space, she moves in, unannounced with her gay son at his LA apartment. Elliot, is a cook, running his uncle’s restaurant. Emma’s relationship with him are bit strained Emma’s inability to come to terms with Elliot’s sexuality. It’s not that she disapproves, she just doesn’t get it. So now they are living together but with awkwardness. Tense unspoken moments. Feeling lonely, Emma accidentally befriends the lady next door Maureen who's so eccentric that Emma's way over her head. When Elliot meets smart, funny and loving Ian, sparks fly and they both want more but something about his mother stops Elliot from pursuing things. Plus he is struggling to keep his restaurant open due to lack of payment of six months mortgage. Unable to communicate with words, they use the medium of food as a common ground. There is the possibility that the business can be saved, if only Elliot is willing to admit he needs help, which he seems unable to do. Finally things fall in place when Emma slowly gets educated about what being gay is, accepts her son for who he is along with his status quo with Ian. With right support from family and friends, together the mother and son just might be able to save the restaurant.
The film is no great shakes. It is a feelgood film with a strong ensemble cast and high production values. It’s sweet without being sappy. The awkward relationship that Elliot and Gemma share is something that a lot of people will relate to. It is freakishly real, which means that makers have done a good job of capturing the acting potential of individuals. Elliot’s struggle between doing the right thing for restaurant vs his mom vs Ian is real. Its important to address that the characters are Chinese American, where the family culture is important. It is because of family values, that elliott’s priority for his mother will always be higher than hi love for Ian. Emma is outstanding in this role. Her scenes with the neighbour Maureen are the highlights of the film and bring in much relief to the proceedings. The film never gets boring. But then at the same time, it is never explained, how doing one evening of dumplings will save the restaurant from 6 months of non-payment within a week. Also if Elliott enjoys cooking, why hasn’t he already broadened his skills and change the menu and bring some spice. Keeping these things aside, the film is easy and smooth.
It is a film for anyone that shares a love of food, a will to endure and also the capacity to love. Someone who cares for their family as much as they do for their love. (6.5/10)