Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chef (2014)

At some point I think Jon Favreau just got a little tired of working on big budget tent pole summer films. Sure his film Iron Man was a huge hit (and really set the whole Marvel Universe going), but Iron Man 2 and Cowboys and Aliens weren’t as well received. So I speculate, he just wanted to do something a little more intimate. But does has his brush with the big budget ruined his indy street cred?

Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is in a bit of a rut in his role of head chef at a swanky restaurant. When a food critic trashes his meal in an online review, Carl (who is a bit of a luddite) ends up making the whole thing worse, starting an online flame war. It ends with Carl losing his job and losing his confidence.

But his wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) convinces him to get into the food truck business. At first Carl balks. Would this be beneath his talents? But with his trusty friend Martin (Jon Leguizamo) at his side Carl embarks on a road trip in his new business venture, crossing the country and rediscovering his love of food and reconnecting with his estranged son Percy (Emjay Anthony). But will this journey be enough to redeem this Chef to himself? Includes some fun short performances by Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris and Robert Downey Jr.

Good Points:
  • A solid mix of humor and drama
  • Very good acting by the entire cast
  • Moves a good pace with some snappy dialogue and excellent music

Bad Points:
  • The story beats are pretty familiar
  • At times feels like it is trying to a little too hard
  • Don’t watch this movie if you are hungry!

I really enjoyed this film. Yes it is a “feel good” film about someone who crashes pretty hard and beats the odds to rise up again. Pretty much all the story beats are there and some of them are pretty obvious. But the acting, dialogue, and music keep things moving along and pulls you into the story. But damn, all the food looked great in the movie. A perfect movie to whet your appetite.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 3
Sound: 3
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. This is one of those films that I've almost watched several times, as in "This might be interesting...but, maybe not. What else is on?" I think I'll give it a shot now. Despite the outrageous title and premise, btw, I enjoyed Cowboys and Aliens, another movie on which I passed several times before giving it a chance.

    1. It is worth seeing. The performances, humor and music all click.

  2. I'll give it an add to the NF queue. It sounds interesting enough. I guess it's sort of playing off the food fad programming that's been pretty hot on TV like Hell's Kitchen (oops pun) et al. It seems to have a nice cast ensemble. I saw Cowboys & Aliens too, and I thought it was alright for a popcorn movie, which is about what it was aiming for.

    1. It was definitely entertaining a nice change of pace from the grimmer fare I'd been watching. I should check out "Cowboys and Aliens". It sounded like it could be fun, but the reviews were really tepid.