The Hundred-Foot Journey ★★★

There always seems to be at least one of these Oprah-sponsored Oprah Book Club adaptations every year: a saccharine, serendipitous and excessively heart-warming story transplanted from the bookshelves of the North American senior citizen. This is no different. And that doesn't make it bad, and it doesn't even make it boring.

But it's undeniably clear that the source material, a heavy-handed foray into cultural mashup territory, isn't all that thought-provoking, and actually plants itself firmly in the middle of the road. What begins as a predictable but endearing story of hardship becomes a bit of a meandering mess somewhere in the middle of the second act. The acting is more than decent, but the one-dimensional characters project their arcs so obviously that the acting, however good, becomes less and less interesting as the story progresses towards inevitability.

The star of this film is the eye of cinematographer Linus Sandgren, paired with the visual talents of Art Director Ravi Srivastava (Life of Pi), which captures some incredible eye candy in what could otherwise have easily been a fairly banal bit of celluloid. Seeing these visuals in the trailer was actually what sold me on seeing this film in theatre rather than simply seeing nothing.

All in all, it's not a disappointing film, simply because it can't be. It's exactly what you expect. Take it or leave it.