There are no spoilers ahead of you, continue with ease.
A simple story, good writing, a great cast, lovely moments and all that food porn makes Chef into a heartwarming movie that nobody saw coming. I mean, I sure didn’t see it coming, I didn’t even think I was going to love as much as I do right now. Maybe part of my love is the fact that Chef surprised me, Jon Favreau surprised me and I absolutely love being surprised!
The simplest way to describe Chef is to state that it is a love letter to food – Jon Favreau loves food and he wanted to express that love by writing, directing and acting in a movie that revolves around food. Surely there are other story lines that accompany this character but it all comes down to food, good food, the kind of food you see on screen and want to enjoy as well. Knowing that Favreau himself did all the cooking on screen makes you appriciate the food even more, and of course, the man himself as well.
Frankly, I was extremely surprised when I saw Jon Favreau’s name all over this movie – he directed Iron Man, an action packed superhero movie! and here he is, telling a story about food, family and love. I’m not saying that directors can’t be versatile, but I’m saying that you don’t see Michael Bay directing a family movie without any transformers or aliens. That being said, I have the utmost respect for Favreau now and I’m thrilled he ventured into the world of food truck cuisine.
Without spoiling anything, though there’s actually not much to spoil, the movie is about a brilliant chef, Carl Casper (Jon Favreau), who just doesn’t have the best boss (Dustin Hoffman). He can’t follow his heart so to speak and quits his job after this very important critic (Oliver Platt) says some really bad stuff about his food. With his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) and his sort-of girlfriend Molly (Scarlett Johansson) motivating him to start his own food truck business, Carl decides to take the leap and be his own boss.
That pretty much sums up the story, the rest is just a simple road trip with his friend (John Leguizamo) and son (Emjay Anthony) which is filled with father-son bonding moments, media communication appreciation and some really delicious looking food! Seriously, the food looked amazing and it was nice to see the truck travel through states by emphasizing the traditional dishes in different destinations. I also should mention that I have been watching a lot of MasterChef lately so I’m a bit of a foodie at the moment which means that Chef came to my life at the right time.
And yes, in case you were wondering, Robert Downey Jr. does appear in Chef but even though his appearance is brief, he nails it! Honestly, that man is perfection and I love the fact that he and Favreau did a scene together because it worked on so many levels. Some found it a bit too much, not really fitting but you know what, Chef needed a bit of spicy moments and Downey’s performance was one of those hot flavored scenes. So for me everything worked on many levels, the whole movie worked and it did that because it didn’t want to do too much!
As I’ve seen so many bad movies lately, Chef’s simplicity made me smile and I love the fact that it doesn’t try to be more than it is. It’s about food, it’s about people coming together because of food and it celebrates simple pleasures that can come from a great taco! Add to that an upbeat soundtrack with songs you want to move to, which I actually did in my seat multiple times, a great warm cinematography vibe to the whole movie and you’ve gotten yourself a great family movie you can watch multiple times! What more could you ask for?
I feel exactly the same way about this film – I loved it because it didn’t try too hard and it was just beautifully simple! Lovely review
Great review! My theater here had this, but the show time were awful and I never got a chance to see it. I hope I love it as much as you when I finally do.
I just saw Chef last weekend and also really enjoyed it. I think it’s a way for Favreau to get back to the roots of what he enjoyed doing as a director. After Cowboys vs. Aliens and the Iron Man films, I’m sure it was nice to do something that was less effects-driven. Also, I wanted to eat all the food!
Such a lovely delight to see Favreau back to making movies his own way, rather than these big-budget messes he’s been stuck with. Not saying they’re all bad, it’s just that they haven’t shown us what was so special about having him around in the first place. This, thankfully, changes all of that. Good review Ray.
I had the chance to see this for free a few weeks back, but I was very very ill. Glad you liked it though, I look forward to watching it when it comes out on dvd.
Both Vergara and Johansson were with this guy? Man, that’s lucky, even for a character. I’m looking forward to seeing this film, it’s looking out to be something to tickle my own foodie senses. Food is so great, it deserves more films like Chef, right? 😉
This is definitely a film I am eager to watch as it’s nice to see Favreau creating films that aren’t action/adventure oriented. From your review it sounds like he’s going back to the simplicity and charm that was found in his second film, Elf.
Indeed, but this is more like Elf grown up.. more oriented to adults but just as sweet!