First feature from Brazilian writer-director Paula Hernandez is a modest but likable effort that follows the recipe — gastronomic emphasis plus romantic pining in colorful locale equals export potential –established by prior cross-cultural comedy hits. Pic may be a little too derivative to travel as far, but should do well with fest auds and TV sales, with potential for niche theatrical distrib in select offshore markets.
Olinda (Rita Cortese) is an Italian emigre nearing retirement in Buenos Aires; she’d come years earlier for love, but found herself slaving alone at her Italo ristorante. Chance lands gangly young German Peter (Adrian Witzke) at her doorstep. He, too, has arrived chasing an elusive love; robbed at a hostel, he’s reluctantly allowed by gruff but soft-hearted Olinda to continue his search while sleeping gratis on her eatery floor. When Peter does run across his errant amour, script hardly capitalizes on the moment, preferring to keep idling toward a predictable change-is-good finish. Likewise, pleasant cast of supporting characters is underserved by low-incident story. Nonetheless, pic’s good-naturedness is disarming, with evident budget limitations softened by vibrant production design and energetic Brazil pop soundtrack.