Title – Chef (2014)
Director – Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Cast – Jon Favreau, Emjay Anthony, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey Jr, Bobby Cannavale
Plot – Famed chef Carl Casper’s (Favreau) life is turned upside down after a scathing review of his menu by food blogger Ramsey Michel (Platt) leads him to lose his job setting him on a path of food vans and redemption, not only personally but with his ex-wife Inez (Vergara) and oft forgotten son Percy (Anthony)
“I may not do everything great in my life, but I’m good at this. I manage to touch people’s lives with what I do”
Review by Eddie on 29/09/2014
WARNING: Do not watch Chef on an empty stomach, for it’s likely that you’ll not be able to sit through the film without rushing to the fridge and combining ingredients in the hope of creating one of many dishes within this film that look almost too good to be true, not least the Cuban sandwiches which play a large part in the films second half. Food on screen is unlikely to look more appealing in 2014 than it does here in Jon Favreau’s small scale dramedy but it’s a good thing that the movie itself is quite the entertaining feast to.
More than likely to go down as one of the year’s most breezy, enjoyable and often quite funny films, Chef is a purely unadulterated joy of a movie that while at times contrived and more sugary than a box of freshly baked donuts is a movie that should appeal to everyone no matter how cynically minded they may be. For food lovers there is the previously mentioned abundance of amazing looking food but for us film lovers there is a film here that whooshes through its 100 minute run time with a likeable storyline, a cast of on form and obviously enjoying the experience actors and a tale not looking to fill itself up with emotionally plot points but looking to entertain as the number one order of the day. It’s a real credit to Favreau that he was able to achieve such a charming low key movie.
Moving on from the big world lights of Marvel and the Jersey Boys movie project, Favreau once more shows us how skilled he is at the small scale story much like he did in his early films Elf and Made. Favreau is by no means the most talented of directors around the industry today or even one of the most visually recognisable but there is little doubt he knows how to make a likeable cast work into a likeable movie as evidenced in previous movies like Iron Man and here in Chef. Favreau’s lead Carl is a flawed individual yet remains someone you can root for even when his disregarding his child or talking up the virtues of his cooking while supports in the form of actually likeable child actor Emjay Anthony as Carl’s son Percy, the ever fast talking John Leguizamo as Carl’s best friend Martin and the always begging for more screen time Bobby Cannavale as one of Carl’s cooking compatriots Tony are all universally likeable which leads to a great overall feel in proceedings.
It would take a hard hearted movie watcher to talk down Chef and while there are numerous plot contrivances and somewhat unbelievable developments (really would everyone around the country line up for Cuban sandwiches?) it remains a movie that wizzes past while entertaining at every stop. It’s great to see Favreau come back to a small-scale (especially after the insanely awful Cowboys and Aliens) yet meaningful smaller movie and like a 3 course feast, Chef will leave you feeling wholly satisfied at its conclusion.
4 perfectly toasted sandwiches out of 5