Chef (2014)

There have been countless movies pushing the message of “do what you love, and love what you do.” Rarely do these pictures glow with as much exuberance and passion as Jon Favreau’s Chef, a labor of love on all levels full of comedic wit, charm, and Cuban sandwiches. Favreau plays Carl Casper, the head chef of Gauloise, a ritzy restaurant in California. He’s a brilliant, passionate chef, concocting creative new dishes that his crew all enjoy, but dishes that his boss (Dustin Hoffman) deems too risky, ordering him to “stick to the menu.” Casper fights for creative control and loses, one of the film’s many thinly veiled metaphors for Favreau’s own career in the film industry. 

Carl eventually goes back to basics. His successful ex-wife (the gorgeous Sofia Vergara) uses her resources to get him a food truck and Carl finds his passion for food reignited, partnering with long-time friend Martin (John Leguizamo). Carl’s 10-year-old son Percy is eager to come along for the ride too and the film’s father-son development feels surprisingly organic. It’s a relationship that has proven to be difficult to write. Many films have fallen flat in this aspect and Favreau hits the right notes, letting the characters of Carl (the old school) and Percy (the new school) riff off one another, creating a charming dynamic that feels real.

Favreau’s friends Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson join in on the fun, further highlighting the film’s “passion project” status. It isn’t ground breaking or innovative and it is very simple, perhaps too simple for some, but Favreau’s knack for character comedy and love shine through every frame. He fits in a few directorial flourishes (the film is a visual feast, in more ways than one) but stays primarily reserved, focusing on punching every last ounce of love into the picture. Accompanied by an extremely groovy mix of hip-hop beats and hispanic jams, Carl’s food truck journey is exuberant and heartwarming. Chef is emblematic of Carl’s mouth-watering Cubanos: simple, full of passion, and delicious.

★★★★½

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8 comments

  1. been meaning to watch this for a while, just never got around to it. u just bumped it up the list with this review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! I loved it both times ive seen it

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hope I will too! 😉

        Like

    2. I liked it, but I didnt think it was amazing. my review should be up soon.

      I enjoyed some of the points about father-son relationships.

      Thanks for getting me to finally watch this Lukas!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem Rob! Glad you enjoyed it! Admittedly I do love it more than most people. Looking forward to your review.

        Like

  2. Reading some of your reviews I’ve been thinking you’ve been pretty hard on movies in the reviews I read so far. I was beginning to think you don’t like much. Then I come to this review which I think is Spot On. Chef was one of my favorite movies last year. One thing – you didn’t mention the soundtrack which I enjoyed a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I forgot to mention that? I adored the soundtrack. That remix of the C.R.E.A.M beat that they used? Amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My mistake. You did have a little line there at the end mentioning the beats/jams. Again, good review!

        Liked by 1 person

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