Title: Today’s Special
Released: 2009

Fix: Family Drama that Resolves Well, Culinary Temptation, Adorable Older People, Chefs in Love
Platforms: Hoopla, Tubi TV

Netflix Summary:

A haute cuisine chef dreams of cooking in Paris, but an emergency forces him to take over his family’s shabby Indian restaurant in Queens.

FYA Summary:

Samir wants nothing more than to be a fabulous chef, but he is a little too by the book to make waves. That is, until he returns to his family’s Indian restaurant, where he’s forced to relearn nearly everything, from how to cook to how to actually live.

Familiar Faces:

Aasif Mandvi as Samir

Scrolling through Aasif’s IMDB page, I realize that he’s been acting (and in a lot of things) for a long while. But I only really know him as “himself” from The Daily Show. Samir and Aasif are similar in some ways—they both are pretty sarcastic, snarky dudes—but there’s a softer side to Samir that I honestly don’t know if Aasif has in real life, not knowing him as a person.

Interestingly, Aasif wrote both the screenplay for Today’s Special, and the play the movie’s based on (“Sakina’s Restaurant”).

Dean Winters as Steve

For those of you who watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine (and if you don’t, you really should), Steve is basically The Vulture if he was a chef instead of a police officer. For those of you who don’t, I think Dean was playing a very similar role to most of his others; Steve’s an abrasive and status-obsessed jerk. However, Steve did give, albeit inadvertently, Samir the push he needed to make some positive life changes.

Kevin Corrigan as Stanton

For the short amount of time Kevin was on screen, he played pretty much the exact character he plays in most other movies: a sidekick with a smart mouth.

Couch-Sharing Capability: High

Today’s Special has a lot of intertwined plot lines that should appeal to all sorts of people. At its heart, it’s a movie about family, but it’s also a comedy, a romance, a cooking show, and an examination of what living life really means (even if you don’t figure it out until you’re a bit older). So, you know, I really hope there’s something in that list that appeals to you and your friends and loved ones.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Whatever Goes Good With Indian

For a movie about a chef and an Indian restaurant, there wasn’t as much actual cooking as one might assume. That said, (most of) the food that is shown onscreen looks amazing. I’m not well versed on what alcohol goes well with Indian cuisine, but I’m sure your local take-out place might have some good suggestions when you’re picking up your to-go order. Because yes, this movie requires both drink and food while watching.

Use of Your Netflix Subscription: Excellent

Although it’s a little slow to start, Today’s Special is an absolutely adorable gem of a movie. It made me smile, made me laugh, made me hungry …  and I even teared up a little watching Samir and his parents’ interactions, particularly at the end of the film. I say this a lot, but I so appreciate Netflix for introducing me to movies like this I might have otherwise completely missed.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.