We watched Ratatouille last night, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I loved the setting, but a lot of things made me crazy about the movie as a whole.
1. I didn’t like either of the protagonists. I thought Linguini (the human) was irredeemably stupid, with phenomenally irritating voice work by Lou Romano, and Remy (the rat) was generally unsympathetic. I couldn’t root for either of them. [Edited because I’m sloppy and often incorrect. Sorry, Mr. Oswalt.]
2. I could root for Colette, the hard-working woman in a male-dominated kitchen, but I thought she got screwed and duped at every turn and ended up taking it all with a smile. Nice.
3. Just because you can do chase scenes really well doesn’t mean you have to do them quite so often. I would have preferred more frenzied cooking and less frenzied fleeing.
4. This is totally nitpicky of me, especially in a movie with rats running in and out of a professional kitchen, but working chefs don’t (or shouldn’t) taste food with the implements they’re using to prepare it. They have tasting spoons that they use once and set aside for the dishwasher, because they shouldn’t be seasoning their dishes with saliva. Or rat saliva.
5. There were too many subplots, and they didn’t come together well. Some good jokes about chef celebrity and nice bits about artistic innovation got bulldozed by a bunch of loud plot twists.
6. I’m sorry, but if it makes me a bad, closed-minded person if I don’t want a rat running around a restaurant kitchen, then I am a bad, closed-minded person.
7. That “I’ve got to be true to me” message really has some miles on it, doesn’t it?
It wasn’t all bad. There’s a scene at the end where a patron is transported by the power of really good food, and it’s beautifully and simply rendered. It’s a really thrilling moment of filmmaking, and it works perfectly. But the spirit of the moment is isolated in a movie that’s otherwise cluttered and shrill.