- Rated: PG
- Genre: Comedy/Romance
- Studio: Media 8 Entertainment
- Release Date: May 19 2009
The story unfolds with Abby moving to Japan to be with her hot-shot web designer of a boyfriend who abruptly abandons her after a night of reconnecting. Distraught and left stranded in a culture foreign and strange to her, she wanders into a nearby ramen shop and hysterically pours her frustrations out to the perplexed couple that runs it. Despite the language barrier and being completely at loss, the couple decides to take pity on the “crazy white girl” by comforting her with a bowl of ramen and some kindness.
She returns to thank the couple the next day and experiences an epiphany after witnesses the magical healing effects of the shop’s ramen. Without any real explanation, Abby comes to the conclusion that it is her destiny to become a ramen chef. She then pesters the shop’s often drunk and moody Japanese master chef Maezumi (Toshiyuki Nishida) to teach her all there is to the art of making ramen. Reluctantly, he accepts and thus begins a comedic and contentious relationship of trials and tribulation where she ultimately learns that the secret to a good bowl of ramen is more than just the ingredients.
The film’s most noticeable flaw was perhaps its inability to capture the idiosyncrasies and essences of the Japanese culture — something the film, “Lost in Translations,” did so well. Not much was said or scripted to take advantage of the uniqueness and beauty of the Japanese culture. In fact, Abby could have been stranded in New Orleans and wanted to become a gumbo chef and it would have played out the same. It’s especially bad when I have to admit that I had a better feel for the Japanese culture by listening to the commentaries and watching the Japanese team in the World Baseball Classics than by watching this film.
Additionally, The Ramen Girl is also guilty of breaking a cardinal rule when it comes to food movies. And that is, you always show the food and never tease the audience. It is almost inexcusable and extremely disappointing to watch a movie about ramen only to catch quick glimpses and flashes of delicious ramen goodness. I would have liked to have seen more ramen screen time, or at least more scenes of Maezumi teaching Abby how to actually make and prepare it.
*The Ramen Girl IS NOT a remake of Tampopo as many bloggers would like to assume.