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Today's Special

Personal growth – and a few laughs – are on the menu

Samir (Aasif Mandvi, of The Daily Show) is a competent sous chef in a fancy Manhattan restaurant, but he lacks the heart for becoming a truly great cook. Perhaps you're thinking: All he needs is a few hard bumps in the road to set him on his journey to Better Person. Sure enough, Samir winds up back at his immigrant father's failing Indian restaurant in Queens -- and under the tutelage of a quirky, life-embracing cook-turned-cabbie-turned-cook-again (Bollywood stalwart Naseeruddin Shah). David Kaplan's comedy, an adaptation of Mandvi's off-Broadway show that plays a bit like one of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, unearths a few gentle truths about relaxing, appreciating family and culture, and what makes a truly sublime masala. (You may wonder why Samir doesn't just ask his mom, played here by prolific Indian-cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey.) A sweet if predictable film that should drive patrons straight from the theater to a nearby curry house. Starts Fri., Jan. 21. Harris

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