It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
I love cooking and I love Indian food, and so I had a good time during "Today's Special." That doesn't make it a great movie, but it made it a perfectly enjoyable entertainment for me. Sometimes when you feel strongly enough about certain elements in a movie, they redeem the rest. Nothing wrong with that.
Let's begin with this: India has produced one of the world's great cuisines. You may never have tasted it. Oh, you may have gone to a restaurant like the Tandoori Palace in "Today's Special," which is a greasy spoon in Queens. The fact is, you may have enjoyed yourself there. I have been to many all-you-can-eat Indian buffets in Chicago, London and elsewhere, and I knew I wasn't eating great cuisine but I also knew I was enjoying myself and the price was right.
The movie stars Aasif Mandvi as Samir, a gifted sous chef in a high-falutin' French restaurant in Manhattan. He doesn't get the promotion he's counting on, resigns on the spot and claims he has a job offer in Paris. He never gets there, alas, because his father (Harish Patel) has a heart attack. It's up to Samir to run his father's Tandoori Palace on an emergency basis, and he's so incompetent at Indian cooking that he orders out meals from another Indian restaurant.
Enter the enigmatic taxi driver Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah), who he meets by accident. Akbar gives him an embossed card with only his name on it, nothing else. He claims to have been a great chef back in India. In desperation to find him again, Samir enlists three old-timers who play cards in the restaurant to phone their Indian friends. After a montage of one friend calling another, Akbar is tracked down and appears at the door. I believe this is possible.