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Genre : Comedy
Country : USA
Jon Favreau : Carl casper
Emjay Anthony : Percy
Sofía Vergara : Inez
Director : Jon Favreau
Carl Casper is an acclaimed chef with a family life that seems as decaying as his artistic freedom. Those frustrations boil over into a raucous viral-videoed public confrontation against a restaurant critic who panned his cooking of food that his boss ordered him to make against his instincts. Now with his career ruined, Carl’s ex-wife offers an unorthodox solution in Miami: refit an old food truck to offer quality cooking on his own terms. Now with his young son, Percy, and old colleague, Martin, helping, Carl takes a working trip across America with that truck to rediscover his gastronomic passion.
“You’re never going to be happy cooking for someone else.”
If there’s one thing I really hate, it’s those countless cooking television shows (and variations) we get on our plate (how appropriate) recent years. They even founded television channels like “24 Kitchen” and “Njam” where you can view cooking 24 hours a day. How is it possible. You can’t even surf your tv-channels on an average night without bumping into some cooking program where they are preparing a delicious dish again. I’m sick and tired of hearing the terminology like baking, flaming, roasting, steaming, filleting, Bain-Marie, stewing, poaching, ragout, caramelize, gratinate and the hype-word in recent years “cuisson”. I’m not sick of seeing those plates with tasty food, but the oversupply of television programs with people cooking enthusiastically. Suddenly, any known chef de cuisine or unknown cooking amateur has a tv-show where they can demonstrate their skills while brandishing a wooden spoon.
Why the hell would I watch a movie like “Chef“? Especially when I already know in advance that it’s mainly about cooking. Perhaps out of curiosity? The only cooking-related films I’ve ever seen are “Ratatouille” (where there’s even a rat in charge) and “La Grande Bouffe” (but this film showed the art of cooking in a very different lurid way). Maybe it’s because Jon Favreau played the leading role. Not that I’ve seen him acting that much. He had a small part in “Friends” years ago, he starred in “The Break-up” and he also did something in “Iron Man” and “The Wolf of Wall Street“. He also directed the first successful “Iron Man“. But it’s his charisma that convinced me. He looks like a cheerful and sociable chubby guy who converses in a fairly amusing and slightly lisping manner. Looking at the size of his waist I guess he’s also a fan of culinary excesses and therefore he’s perfect for this role as chef. And then there’s also the pleasure of admiring Sofia Vergara as Inez, the ex-wife of Carl. What a killer babe. I’ll never understand why someone would want to divorce such an adorable,sensual person. I’m sure her butt looks more appetizing than that of the pig that Carl cuts into pieces in the beginning of the film.
Cooking in itself is a central theme in this film, but the main focus is on other matters. Firstly, there is the father-son relationship that has grown crooked after a while. Carl focused fully on his prestigious place in the kitchen, so he ignored and neglected his son Percy (Emjay Anthony). The whole film is about the recovery of that relationship and rediscovering each other in a beautiful, serene, sometimes funny and sometimes sad way. Secondly, it shows how in today’s society it’s seemingly dead simple to ruin someones career simply by writing a destructive review. The consequences of a cyber flame-war could have far-reaching consequences. Especially if the virtual brawl goes viral. And then it shows once again how that virtual world is merged with our daily life The way Percy uses Facebook, Twitter and other online services while driving around America with a food truck, is perhaps a bit exaggerated, but it is an example of the impact of the internet nowadays.
“Chef” is nothing more than just another film in which the main character is successful in the beginning, has to go through a deep valley with the known setbacks and towards the end he rises again unscathed from the battle as a conquering hero. And in “Chef” everything really turns out all right again. This is not an ordinary feelgood movie, but an extraordinary feelgood movie. But despite that, you can really enjoy other things. The juicy lingo of his two confidants Tony and Martin. The enthusiasm Percy shows during the trip. Yet a little warning though : make sure you have eaten firmly before you watch this film, because I guarantee you’ll be running into the kitchen now and then to get a snack. At times it looks so delicious and appetizing, I spontaneously started to drool. Those browned butter filled Cuban grill sandwiches were so painfully slow prepped, it was almost a torture. A 3D flat screen TV with scents option, would have been ideal at that particular moment.
A blandly and not too complicated film. In cooking terms one can summarize it as follows: it‘s not expensive haute cuisine but simple food that they serve us here. A film with a positive attitude (rare nowadays) with beautiful renditions and a surprising supporting cast. Dustin Hoffman as the old restaurant owner who only trusts a classic,safe menu and doesn’t feel like following the new trends. Scarlett Johansson as a colleague of Carl who supports him on all fronts. Robert Downey Jr. as the eccentric rich man who helps Carl getting started. Jon Favreau who still has the passion to create eatable art even when things get him down. Emjay Anthony is doing everything to get back his father’s attention he’s entitled to and at the same time shows his talents. And the whole film is dressed with a sauce of hugely catchy music. Normally I don’t pay attention to the soundtrack, but in this film it fits like a glove. The Salsa music creates that summer feeling, the blues kicks in when it starts to be corny and “Sexual Healing“ is sung a capella. The soundtrack is a perfect ingredient for this tasty movie. Don’t expect profound life lessons in “Chef“. But the end result is still a pleasant and definitely tasty-looking ride. Favreau supplies a genuine end product that tastes very moreish …
My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB
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