August 6, 2014 at 1:00 am

Review: 'Hundred-Foot Journey' goes to a good place

Helen Mirren stars as a stodgy owner of a Michelin-rated restaurant who is upset when competition moves in across the street in 'The Hundred-Foot Journey.' (Francois Duhamel / DreamWorks II)

Cultures and kitchens collide, ever so gently, in “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” director Lasse Hallstrom’s warmhearted adaptation of author Richard C. Morais’ 2010 novel.

In it, an Indian family travels to a small village in the South of France and opens a restaurant directly across the road from a Michelin-rated restaurant run by the icy Madome Mallory (Helen Mirren).

The Madame, stodgy in her ways, is none too pleased about her new neighbors and aims to have them shut down any way she can.

Meanwhile, the Kadam clan — including Papa (Om Puri) and his star chef son, Hassan (Manish Dayal) — fights back, though the highjinks never reach “Neighbors” levels of absurdity.

There are lessons about tolerance and acceptance around the corner, of course, and Hallstrom (“The Cider House Rules,” “Chocolat”) handles everything with a soft, evenhanded touch.

He lovingly films dishes in the kitchen with a foodie’s appreciation for detail; between this and “Chef,” it’s been a good summer at the movies for food lovers.

Producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey are out to deliver the audience a hug, and though “The Hundred-Food Journey” stumbles in its plot machinations to set up its third act, that hug is received.

Awards material it’s not, but the movie knows its intentions and audience, and cooks everything up into a satisfying meal.

'The Hundred-Foot Journey'

GRADE: B

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality.

Running time: 122 minutes

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