Starring: Jon Favreau, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, John Leguizamo, Robert Downey Jr
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Synopsis: A chef who loses his restaurant starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.
Chef has proved to be quite the critical hit since it’s release and I can only go along with the praise it’s received. I thought it was a fantastic movie. Initially I had doubts because of Jon Favreau’s name on it. Favreau isn’t an actor (or director) that does a lot for me, and his career hasn’t really hit the heights since his debut with Swingers. Much like his pal and co-star in that movie, Vince Vaughn, he seems to take the money and run in a lot of his work. You might get the odd decent moment but generally all pretty forgettable. Which is why Chef was such a treat.
Jon Favreau is someone who clearly loves cooking and his passion for thee subject shines through in Chef. It’s a great little movie, presumably made on a fairly small budget (certainly compared to another of his directorial efforts, Iron Man) but full of heart and great, likeable performances from tried and tested actors.
Favreau plays Carl, a top chef frustrated by the restrictions placed on him by restauranteur Dustin Hoffman. In a moment of anger he lambasts a food critic and winds up quitting his job. His estranged wife persuades him to buy a food truck and so he hits the road with his best pal and his son whom he finally starts to forge a relationship with. At this point the film could have turned all saccharine but it never really does. In fact, one of its flaws may well be that beyond his sacking, there isn’t really much that goes wrong. No adversity.
Favreau calls in all the favours to put his crew together, like Iron Man cohorts Johansson and Downey Jr, as well as the ever underrated Cannavale. The film is always totally watchable and never boring, it helps that one of the stars is the food itself which looks amazing. This isn’t a film to watch on an empty stomach! Also, the soundtrack is a beauty as well, full of cool Latin rhythms.
Much like the food served up in Carl’s food truck, I thought Chef was simple yet effective. Just a shame about the outrageous use of Twitter! Must have cost them a fortune!