Chef

"Very Good"

Chef Review


Like comfort food, this movie has very little nutritional value, but it sure goes down smoothly. This is one of those shamelessly delicious-looking films that makes our mouths water at the tasty dishes that are lovingly created on-camera. And it also has an array of deeply likeable characters, witty cameos and sparkling dialogue to keep us smiling. So who cares that nothing unexpected happens from start to finish? This is a movie we sit back and enjoy without worrying about the appearance of a plot twist.

The title character is Carl (played by writer-director Jon Favreau), the chef at a top Los Angeles restaurant that is stuck in a rut because the owner (Dustin Hoffman) refuses to change anything on the menu. When a snooty food critic (Oliver Platt) criticises Carl for his tired and predictable cuisine, Carl's reaction sparks an angry Twitter war. In a fit of anger, Carl quits his job then hatches a plan to get back to his roots while bonding with Percy (Emjay Anthony), his pre-teen son with spicy ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara). So Carl and his sidekick Martin (John Leguizamo) take Percy to Miami to refurbish food truck and drive back to California, along the way building a reputation and perfecting their Latin-infused menu.

Since a complex plot would just be distracting, this film coasts on the charisma of its likeable cast, throwing in lively side roles for the likes of Scarlett Johansson as a restaurant colleague, Bobby Cannavale as a fellow chef and most memorably Robert Downey Jr. as Inez's hilariously nutty ex. Everyone is relaxed and effortlessly funny, which makes the interaction feel amusing and never remotely forced. While this is easily Favreau's most assured work as a director (that's including the first two Iron Man movies), this is also his most generous performance too. He infuses the whole film with easy-going charm.

Audience members who haven't eaten before seeing this film will be ravenous within minutes. The flavours on screen look mouth-wateringly tasty, and Favreau is clearly enjoying himself as he takes us on a cross-country trip from Cuban specialties in Florida to deep-fried wonders in Louisiana, Texas barbecues and Mexican-fusion dishes in California. This is a film about the joys of cooking rather than of eating, specifically how preparing food brings people together in the kitchen. So even if Carl's Luddite ignorance of social media feels utterly contrived, it makes sense that this provides an opening for Percy to get involved in the family business. And once we see what they're whipping up in the kitchen, we might even believe that Carl could attract women like Vergara and Johansson.

Watch 'Chef' Trailer




Chef

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th May 2014

Box Office USA: $31.3M

Distributed by: Open Road Films

Production compaines: Kilburn Media, Aldamisa Entertainment, Fetisov Teterin Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 138 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Karen Gilchrist, Sergei Bespalov

Starring: as Carl Casper, as Martin, as Tony, Emjay Anthony as Percy, as Molly, as Riva, as Inez, as Ramsey Michel, as Jen, Robert Downey Jr. as Marvin, as Miami Cop, Chase Grimm as Vendor, Will Schutze as Mr. Bonetangles, Gloria Sandoval as Flora, Jose C. Hernandez as Abuelito

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.