The phrase `feelgood German cinema' sounds like a contradiction in terms, but this likeable romantic comedy proves to be an exception.
Martha (Martina Gedeck) is a single, thirtysomething chef so dedicated to her work at a ritzy Hamburg eaterie she has no time for a life. That all changes when she's forced to take care of her eight-year-old niece (Maxime Foerste) after a car crash does away with her mum. To make matters worse, Martha's boss hires a flamboyant Italian cook (Sergio Castellitto) who brings gnocchi and nookie into her impeccably disciplined kitchen.
Writer/director Sandra Nettelbeck keeps the romantic tension simmering and seasons her movie witha talented cast, but Mostly Martha's predictability means it never comes to the boil. Pairing her testy heroine with a cute kid is the biggest yawn, regardless of the quality of the performances, and the endless procession of mouth-watering dishes recalls such recent dramas as Big Night and Dinner Rush. Forget you've seen it all before, though, and Martha proves a tasty, if hardly filling, morsel.