Let’s get one thing straight before the actual review. “Chef” is over 2 hours of food porn. I mean pure, unadulterated, delicious food porn. I went into this movie after a big brunch and within 20 minutes was craving everything I saw on the screen. I didn’t even know what half of it was, but damn did it look delicious. In the end, I went home and cooked a mean skirt steak with a red pepper sauce and a side of potatoes and asparagus. I gave up on the quick meals because of this movie. Okay, now it’s said.
Very rarely do I get excited about a movie enough to see it in theaters, but the new Jon Favreau flick “Chef” caught my eye. The trailer showed the all-star cast, including Dustin Hoffman and Scarlett Johansson, and the story felt unique enough for me to actually want to see it. And I am glad I did. This is a mid-life crisis story, one told from the perspective of acclaimed chef Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau. At one time, he was the chef that everyone wanted to be, the man with the creative vision, but has since lost the passion and encouragement to continue being innovative. He was a lost chef in a food-focused world, unable to grow his passions. His skill was definitely there the whole time, so this isn’t a journey in that, but it was his lacking of control over his kitchen, the food, and his personal life that put him down this road.
What starts with a bad review, quickly escalating to a flame war over the social media channel Twitter, the Chef’s spiral downward is wide spread and impacting, driving him out of the kitchen, out of a job, and looking to find something. And this is where the journey begins. It was not just a a rebuilding of his career, but a finding of his true self, a focus of his talents, and growth of the inner core of a man. Yes, it is a coming of age movie with midlife crisis poured all over it, and it may feel as if I am ruining the point of it, but I am not. It’s the story being told that is worth seeing, one that might feel familiar in a way. but is unique especially when compared to the others that tend to fall under this category. There are no extra ordinary circumstances, nothing that makes this feel as if the Chef could not be any other person. It feels real, true, and good.
So, while the story may not be the most unique and does fall in the by-the-numbers, storyline with a neatly rolled up plot and under-dramatic climax, it has a good spirit to the idea of rediscovery. And one of the more appealing aspects is it is not a movie you walk away from asking “but what about this” in, where the plot holes are minimum and the flick feels complete. It makes food trucks and cooking exciting, and really does fit in with this foodie culture we have all seemed to fallen into. Like the food being served, it shows that a movie can be wonderful to see if simple and true. It’s worth every penny seeing, and then heading off to the closest unique restaurant as you will be walking away hungry.
An all star cast, a solid story, and a great director/lead actor all adds up to a move you should see. We promise you will enjoy it. Oh, and did I mention the food? Oh yes, the food.