Review - Chef

Chef (2014), R, 114 minutes - I've heard a lot of great things about Chef since it was released earlier this summer and I was pretty excited when I was finally able to watch it last week. It is a smaller film that first hit theaters back in May so there's a pretty good chance that it's no longer playing at a theater near you.  The good news is that it looks like it will be available on blu-ray/digital/On-Demand in about a month.

Written and directed by Jon Favreau, the film is about Carl Casper (Favreau), a chef who was once known for his creativity and who now finds himself at a crossroads in his life and career after a very public confrontation with food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt). At the urging of his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) and with the financial backing of his ex-wife's ex-husband Marvin (Robert Downey Jr), Carl opens a food truck named El Jefe. With the help of his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and his former line cook Martin (John Leguizamo), Carl begins serving a creative, high quality menu based around the Cubano sandwich to a number of different cities between Miami (where he met with Marvin) and Los Angeles (where he and his estranged family live). Once completely consumed by work, leaving him little time for family, El Jefe allows Carl to have a bonding road trip with Percy, during which he shares his love of food and cooking with his son and his son teaches him about social media.

With Chef, Favreau proves once again how versatile he can be both in front of and behind the camera. He pulled in a lot of friends to put together a veritable who's who of recognizable faces for his cast. On top of those mentioned above, we also get small parts from Scarlett Johansson (Molly), Dustin Hoffman (Riva), Bobby Cannavale (Tony), and Amy Sedaris (Jen).

Chef is a mid-life crisis, coming of age, redemption, road trip, family flick all rolled into one that is endearing, relate-able, heartfelt, and very entertaining. It will also make you ridiculously hungry (even if you've already eaten). If you're a 'foodie' then this film is an absolute must watch. And if you're not, that's ok too because Chef has a little something for everyone and is well worth the watch.











*****SPOILERS*****

- The effects used to show comments being posted to Twitter were amusing.

- I'm a small time, do it for the fun of it blogger, and have no delusions about how many people see what I write, but I do make an attempt not to outright bash something that I've seen. Carl's reaction to Ramsey Michel's review and his ensuing rant is a great example of why I make that attempt.

- Favreau trained with food truck chef Roy Choi for a week prior to the filming of Chef.

- Gary Clark, Jr. cameos as himself, performing in the scene in which Carl and Percy discuss what will happen when they get home and school starts.

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