IFFB review: "Soul Kitchen"


The Independent Film Festival of Boston started yesterday, and it's stuffed with so much fine viewing that reviews overflow into this blog space. Here's one we couldn't fit into the print edition of our coverage:

Soul Kitchen (two and a half stars)


Let's cut Fatih Akin some slack with this broad, rough-around the edges comedy about the hapless owner of the title Hamburg restaurant -- the Turkish-German filmmaker's last few films ( "Off-Side,"  "The Edge of Heaven" ) have been brilliant, moving but, let's face it, a little downbeat and depressing. So it's good to see him lighten up, even though there isn't much edge to or many surprises in this culinary romp. There's nothing fancy about Zinos's (Adam Bousdoukos) greasy spoon; it rattles around in a ramshackle warehouse where he serves fish sticks and fries. It's what his salt-of-the-earth clientele want and all is fine until he throws out his back and has to hire a fancy new chef. Then his jailbird brother gets out on work release, his girlfriend moves to China, and a crooked real estate developer starts sniffing at the property. In style and tone the film is as meat and potatoes as Zinos's original menu, what with Udo Kier choking on a button and an aphrodisiac spice mixed into a dessert. All that's lacking is a food fight for a Hollywood version. And maybe Brendan Fraser in the lead role.

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