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

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

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.