Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chef: A Dull Dish

Chef is food porn masquerading as a movie. If you like multiple scenes of food being lovingly prepared or are very keen on learning how food trucks operate, this is the movie for you. If not, there really isn't a whole lot left for you to sink your teeth into.

Jon Favreau stars as Carl Casper, a burnt-out chef who gets fired after he engages in a Twitter war with a food critic who gave him an abysmal review. His ex-wife, Inez (Sophia Vergara), thinks he needs inspiration and urges him to try running a food truck. Carl eventually gives in and his young son, who desperately wants to spend more time with him, also gets to help out and bond with his dad. Along the way, they make a lot of sandwiches and travel to foodie capitals of America like New Orleans, Austin, and Miami. 

It's a pretty predictable tale and the ending is a particularly gift-wrapped affair, tied up with a neat bow and offering full resolution for all characters. As such it is a perfect family movie for those relatives in your life who like their films to be uncomplicated and delicious-looking. The soundtrack is full of fun evocative Latin music and jazz, and the cast is chock-full of famous faces like John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, and Dustin Hoffman, just to name a few. It's like Favreau recognized the need to throw in occasional cameos to liven up the film and prevent it from turning into a two hour food and travel documentary. 

Chef is a simple film with no real ambition. It's a perfectly acceptable movie but doesn't have a lot going for it apart from several montages of food preparation and a serviceable cast that don't have much to do. It has an inane R rating for language, nothing else, so you should feel free to watch it at your next family gathering, get hungry, and then forget about it. 

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