Thursday, May 29, 2014

[Review] Chef

Jon Favreau writes, directs and stars in this feel-good comedy of tasty proportions. It's about a popular head chef named Carl Casper who is fed up with serving fancy but bland food at a stuffy restaurant. He decides to leave it behind and sets out across the country in a food truck. Chef's cast is stacked: John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale are line cooks, Scarlett Johansson is the hostess, Dustin Hoffman is the restaurant owner, Sofia Vergara is Carl's ex-wife, and Robert Downey Jr. is an investor.

Of course, Chef isn't just about cooking (even though their are numerous close-ups of delicious, sizzling food). Carl (Favreau) is recently divorced and he's having difficulties finding time to connect with his young son, which sets up some father/son bonding moments for later. A juicy Twitter beef between Carl and a renowned food-blogger (Oliver Platt), and some other social media blunders spice things up. These incidents bring in themes of dealing with criticism, bucking expectations, and embracing creativity and doing what you love. It's a recipe that delivers a satisfying amount of humor and spirited doses of heart.

Chef is generally easygoing. It's incredibly low on conflict, some story turns happen too simply, and it can't help but feel familiar. But that comfort is actually a refreshing contrast to this summer's plate of movies so far, and it's hard to imagine that this would leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.


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