Chef (2014) Review

Director: Jon Favreau

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 114 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

IMDb Page

You don’t have to be a “foodie” to enjoy this dramedy that was written by, directed by, and starring Jon Favreau. This feature’s plot’s about chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) who leaves the restaurant he works at after losing creative control of the cooking process and exploding at a food critic, Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), who gave him a negative review. Despite the detailed food preparation scenes, this is a movie just as much about people as it is about stuff you can eat.

Chef has a star-studded cast and succeeds on both the comedy and drama fronts. No, it’s nothing groundbreaking (the film’s detractors compare it to the comfort food that the main character dislikes having to make), but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s acceptable to just get a familiar story that’s told well. Characters are well-defined and the pacing never lags.

Chef tries to connect to the zeitgeist of its time, and this is most noticeable in its way of handling social media. References are made to staples of modern life, like Twitter and memes, but it doesn’t really feel like the film is trying to be hip-and-with-it. The character who knows the most about all of this technology is the main character’s son, Percy (Emjay Anthony), and the titular figure must bond with his kid to learn the ropes of social media.

When it wraps up, Chef is an enjoyable father/son flick that delivers more than just cooking sequences. While I generally prefer watching pictures with lots of explosions and gunfire, this is a welcome change of pace. It’s a fine dramedy with personal stakes, rather than existential ones. However, why don’t the characters wear seat-belts more often?

My rating is 7 outta 10.

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