Chef DVD Review
"Makes you hungry for more"
After making big budget movies like Iron Man
and Cowboys & Aliens,
Jon Favreau turns to making a more low-key, smaller scale movie in Chef,
where he gets to show all his talent as a writer, director and actor.
Carl Casper (Favreau) is a passionate chef who is about to be reviewed by a prestigious and popular critic, Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt). But Carl is being held back by the restaurant owner (Dustin Hoffman) who stifles his creativity. After Ramsey gives Carl and the restaurant a bad review, Carl becomes an internet sensation due to accidently starting a Twitter war and loses his job because of it. With no job offers coming through, Carl ends up starting a food truck business and travels the country while allowing himself a chance to bond with his 10-year-old son, Percy (Emjay Anthony).
is a cleverly written movie. Its screenplay is one of the best features and combined with the performance and the direction, Chef
is also a witty movie with big comic moments that are light-hearted and heartfelt.
Favreau tackles many themes in Chef
. One is the battle between an artist wanting to be creative and the backer wanting to play it safe. It is a theme that is easy to translate into many fields, journalist and editor, editor and proprietor or even filmmaker and producer. Favreau had a difficult time with Marvel when he made Iron Man 2
and you can see parallels between his experience with the studios and Carl's battle with his boss. Carl is a man who has a passion for his job, but is held back by his boss and seeks to truly live his life.
The role of the internet and social networking plays a major part of the narrative. Carl's internet ineptitude is the reason why he lands into so much trouble. It shows how one stupid moment can go viral and ruin a career. While Carl has no internet skill, Favreau himself is an expert of social media and understands its power, both the bad of how someone’s humiliation can last and how it can be used by someone benefitting from the resource. We live in a world of instant communication and a 10-year-old is more adept than his elders.
is also a father and son story as Carl finally gets to connect with Percy, actually talking to him and showing him his profession, instead of acting as the divorced dad doing what he thinks his son wants to do.
Favreau directs with energy, showing love relevant for the profession. He lovingly shoots the food, the markets and the cooking of the dishes. You will get hungry while watching Chef
because it is basically foodie porn. Favreau gets to show us great American cities of New Orleans and Miami, highlighted with his use of regional music. He is also inventive in visualizing the internet, showing people's tweets on screen and having montages showing the impact of the net.
has a great cast; aside from Favreau, there are great performers like Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson and Bobby Cannavale present. There is strong chemistry between all the cast and a strength is the relationship between Favreau and Vergara as ex-husband and ex-wife who have an amiable relationship. And as a trio Favreau, Leguizamo and Cannavale share a lot of banter together. But people who are coming to see Robert Downey Jr. will be disappointed because his role is basically a cameo.
is a delightful film filled with charm and wit. It is funny, it is dramatic and personal. For a small scale movie, it is cinematic.