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Let’s Eat

Let’s Eat

Feb. 04, 2016 96 Min.
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9 1,189 votes

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Dai Hung is the head chef of Ah Yong Cafe who is unable to get along with the owner’s daughter, Rosemary. When trouble starts brewing at their workplace, Dai Hung and Rosemary have to set their differences aside to save the cafe.

Let’s Eat
Let’s Eat
Let’s Eat
Original titleLet's Eat
TMDb Rating5 3 votes

(1) comment

  • moviexclusiveFebruary 1, 2016Reply

    Chapman To’s direction is a little rough around the edges, but his chemistry with Aimee Chan and his infectious screen presence makes a pleasing Lunar New Year offering

    Till this date, Stephen Chow’s ‘God of Cookery’ remains the gold
    standard in culinary-themed comedies, and to be sure, Chapman To’s
    ‘Let’s Eat!’ won’t be changing that yardstick anytime soon;
    notwithstanding, To’s dish of familiar yet agreeable ingredients makes
    for an amusing and heartwarming lesson on putting your heart into
    everything that you do (or in this case, cook), so you don’t have to
    worry about sending this back to the kitchen at all.

    Assuming multi-hyphenate duties here, To not only directs but also
    writes and stars as the head chef Dai Hung of the once-Michelin starred
    Ah Yong Café. Its titular owner (Lo Hoi Pang) old and showing signs of
    dementia, Dai Hung now runs the café with a loyal bunch of servers,
    including the nerdy bespectacled Brushie (FAMA’s C-Kwan), the pudgy
    gentle-mannered Gayon (Tommy Kuan) and the coy ingénue Beancurd Flower
    (Daphne Low). A better cook than businessperson, Dai Hung’s insistence
    on using only the freshest ingredients for his customers while keeping
    prices constant means that the restaurant hasn’t turned in a decent
    profit in years and struggles in fact just to break even.

    Before his memory totally fails him, Ah Yong decides to entrust his
    café to his eldest daughter Rosemary (Aimee Chan), who so happens to
    return to Malaysia after completing her Masters in hospitality
    management in Switzerland. Rosemary is a businesswoman at heart, and
    decides to change how the restaurant is run in order that it stays in
    the black. Besides making superficial improvements with technology
    (such as getting customers to make their own orders on iPads), Rosemary
    overhauls the menu to introduce new-fangled products like Korean fried
    chicken, fish and chips, and ‘Bangkok Wolverine’ (or ‘tom yum goong’
    really) while settling for cheaper ingredients in order to lower costs.

    Thus sets the basis for their loggerheads with each other, one the
    principled head chef who adamantly refuses to part with tradition and
    perfection and the other the savvy management head who is eager to
    innovate and do what it takes to improve the bottom line. When the
    deteriorating food quality is slammed by a famous food blogger by the
    name of Michelin, is it any wonder that Dai Hung and Rosemary will
    eventually put aside their differences in order to save the restaurant
    from oblivion? In fact, is it also any wonder that they will, in the
    process, fall in love with each other despite recovering from the
    bruises of their respective previous relationships?

    Like we said, originality isn’t the strong suit of his script (who
    shares screen writing credit with Lai Chaing Ming and Ang Siew Hoong),
    but To makes it work with a nice yin-yang chemistry between himself and
    Chan. As always, To nails the role of the comically self-effacing
    individual with his amiable easy-going charm, and he shares a
    pleasingly complementary rapport next to Chan playing the stern and
    largely humourless rival. It is a pity that To’s writing is a little
    too thin on the characters, such that Dai Hung and Rosemary’s
    relationship doesn’t quite evolve during the course of the movie as
    much as we would have liked it to.

    For that same reason, the climax that takes place at a cooking
    competition organised by a regional TV channel right here in Singapore
    feels somewhat anti-climactic, especially because Rosemary’s redemption
    lies at the hands of a French chef and a local food critic who
    discloses during the judging process that she doesn’t even like chicken
    to begin with. Even a little twist at the end that reveals the identity
    of Michelin is hardly any surprise, and the happily-ever-after ending
    for Dai Hung and Rosemary (were you expecting any different from a CNY
    movie?) feels more obligatory than deserved despite the former having
    just recently rejected the advances of a former flame (Fiona Sit).

    Yet to begrudge To for these flaws seems parsimonious, for To remains
    delightfully good-natured company to be in the presence of for a good
    hour and a half. To’s comedic sensibilities have not dulled even though
    he assumes multiple duties – an early sequence where he and C Kwan are
    at a Korean fried chicken outlet dissing the ‘chicken from the stars’
    is classically To, and another where and he and Rosemary are at dinner
    with her father and younger sister sees the former deliver a hilarious
    monologue which is spot-on in its analogy of how politicians speak. Not
    all the jokes hit the mark though – in particular, a sequence where
    Singapore’s own Henry Thia is accused of being Michelin is too
    belaboured to inspire any laughs; and the same can be said of the token
    few lines given to Mark Lee who guest stars as the creator of the
    gastronomic competition.

    It needs to be said too that a significant portion of the humour is
    lost in the Mandarin-dubbed version that is screened in Singapore
    cinemas, such that To, Chan and C Kwan are heard completely in Mandarin
    throughout the entire film. That is of course no fault of To’s, who has
    put his heart into creating an uneven but nonetheless well- intentioned
    film that emphasises the importance of finding true meaning in the
    pursuit of innovation or the upkeep of tradition. This is no classic
    surely, but there are good laughs and great company to be had with
    ‘Let’s Eat!’, which is more than enough for a pleasing Lunar New Year

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