Sentimental, obvious, but well-nigh irresistible, this jubilant comedy equates England's bland cuisine with its sexual inhibition and suggests we could all use something a little more tasty (at dinnertime, that is). Young Nigel (Oscar Kennedy) lives in the West Midlands with his dyspeptic dad (Ken Stott) and sickly mum (Victoria Hamilton), a cook so incompetent that the family usually ends up dining on buttered toast. After she dies of asthma, the father takes up with their new cleaning woman (Helena Bonham Carter), a big-bottomed strumpet who simultaneously repels Nigel with her emotional maneuvering and attracts him with her delectable dishes. The story takes place mainly in the 60s, the era of kitchen-sink realism in British cinema, but it's more like kitchen-sink fantasy, with a colorful palette and a soundtrack throbbing with Dusty Springfield hits. S.J. Clarkson directed a script based on the memoir of British food writer Nigel Slater, who's played in his teenage years by Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
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