Aishwarya Rai plays Tilo, Mistress of Spices, a kind of sayer-healer-agony aunt who is sent to California with three implausible challenges: help people to accomplish their desires (but never her own) through the considered application of spices; never leave the store; and never touch another person’s skin.

But she’s sent to Oakland for pete’s sake, within spitting distance of San Fransisco, and with a jaw-dropping view of the Golden Gate Bridge from her roof terrace, no less. So of COURSE she’s going to fail. The fact that she does it with Dylan McDermott is kind of irrelevant.

Of course there’s a suspension of disbelief, and there are some questions that are simply imponderable: exactly how magical is sesame seed? who buys her loo paper? is all that open product actually hygenic? how mordantly incurious is she, to be so close to one of America’s greatest cities and never set foot out of her shop?