Tampopo delves deeper into the craziness that is proper ramen preparation. Ramen Girl includes a few elements of food magic, (just the right spirit in the ramen can make people giggle or cry) but not enough to make magical food an essential, if absurd, part of the plot the way it is in Like Water for Chocolate or Simply Irresistible. US-Japanese cultural differences arise, but Lost in Translation handles them much more adeptly. The romance is largely a side note, and there are plenty of better romantic comedies. And if one wants a silly coming of age movie, where a lost young person learns to work hard from a seemingly harsh elder, there are surely many better examples. But I can't think of them at the moment-- please comment with your favorite coming of age (in a profession, through hard work) films.
I should add that despite not being great in any aspect, Ramen Girl did make me want to eat ramen. Amateur Reader has promised earlier that he could advise on Tokyo-style ramen and I am seeing him next week, so I'm hoping for good noodles and perhaps a new pre-Christmas tradition.
Anyone have winter holiday traditions that involve noodles?