CHEF | THE REVIEW

I was so pissed I could not go to this media screening of CHEF but so glad Alistair could, he watches way more commercial films so it was great to see him enjoy an art house movie. I was in two minds, do I write about this on my foodie website (that is very much neglected now Salty takes all my time), or do I put it on the film website or both. It looks amazing and I love a good foodie movie, even better a foodie movie that stars  (also director) plus , John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, & to name a few. CHEF is out today (THUR MAY 8th 2014) is rated M and runs for 114mins.

 

CHEF MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
CHEF | THE REVIEW | THE MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY

CHEF is a film written, produced, directed and starring Jon Favreau (Iron Man 3, Couples Retreat and Cowboys & Aliens). It is a film that offers a star studded line up but surprisingly doesn’t capitalize on this. Featuring big names such as John Leguizamo, Sofia Vegara, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downy Jnr, to name but a few, the Chef, refreshingly, sticks to a low key affair as by intention.

The last you may have seen Jon Favreau’s name pop up is behind huge Hollywood hitters such as the Iron Man series, Cowboys and Aliens and the Avengers. What these films have in common is big budget and bigger explosions. Hollywood films through and through are made to entertain the masses and reap in the profit. Chef is far removed from this, there’s actually no explosions at all! Astounding.

According to interviews Favreau purposefully pursued this as he was on a limited budget (I’m sure if it was bigger we would have seen at least one) but also he wanted to step away from these huge film monstrosities and do something simple. It works.

 

CHEF MOVIE IMAGE
CHEF | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | CHEF aka CARL CASPER (JON FAVREAU) and ex wife INEX (SOFIA VERGARA)

 

Featuring a simplistic, but heartfelt story, CHEF meanders on scene by scene, in no rush to get anywhere and basically enjoying the moment. It is a very refreshing change of pace from the movies that are out these days but what surprises (and admittedly did work) was that the film didn’t actually provide a conflict for which the main creator to rebound from. In English you are taught that this is amongst the key things a good story should have along with a good antagonist and protagonist.

The story revolves around temperamental Carl Casper, Chef, (Jon Favreau) who upon receiving bad reviews and falling from culinary grace gets in a Twitter (this is a huge ad for Twitter by the way) war with a critic (Oliver Platt, Martian Child). This war escalates (as Twitter battles usually do) fast, but unlike Twitter, actually ensues in a face to face confrontation in a restaurant owned by Riva (Dustin Hoffman). Following on from this outcome Chef ends up in the sunny place of Miami with his stunningly beautiful ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) who invites him along and sets him up with funds from her latest ex-husband (Robert Downey Jnr., why not?) to start his own food truck. There is no bouncing back, no struggle street, everything works for Casper. I watched the film with a friend and we kept trying to guess what the conflict would be and until the ending came surprisingly upon us we realized there wasn’t going to be any.

 

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CHEF | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | CHEF aka CARL CASPER (JON FAVREAU) and son PERCY (EMJAY ANTHONY)

 

Thrown all together Chef offers a recipe for success by putting together ingredients that you wouldn’t think work together well but they are so good individually that they can’t help themselves and make a good dish. There are so many cameos in this film that no one you see on screen isn’t someone you haven’t seen before.

It might not excite you but Chef is a truly comforting movie that you can’t help but like, there certainly isn’t anything to hate. Back to simplicity Jon Favreau shows he still knows how to make a good film without a big budget (I would like to say without big names also but these A-listers forced themselves into this movie by offering to work for SAG minimum wages) and a simple story.

Simple and effective. Heartfelt and warming. Satisfying and fulfilling.

A worthy watch.

 

KERNEL ALISTAIR’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

 

KERNEL DARA’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

JK’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops