A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Many a word has been said regarding Jon Favreau’s “Chef”, however, just like any restaurant, cafe or fine dining hot-spot, it cannot be fully understood without tying it for yourself. Favreau (Most commonly recognised for the “Iron Man” series) serves up a hearty and moorish treat that is “Chef”, his 7th full-length feature to date, and by far his best.
Based on the life and times of chef Carl Casper, both a culinary artist and caged lion, “Chef” is an insight into numerous aspects of life that extends further than the kitchen. The film explores facets of coming of age, love, desperation and devotion, as well as heavily showcasing the stereotypical ignorance and cluelessness of Generation X when it comes to social media.
Favreau stars as Casper, a frustrated and tormented head chef at a high-end restaurant run by Riva (Dustan Hoffman), an archetypical power-hungry businessman. Casper understands food and it’s endless possibilities, however he is forced to conform to a heavily criticised and ‘heartless’ menu which denies him showing the world his incredible talent. After a fiery argument boils over with Riva, Casper and long time friend/co-worker Martin (John Leguizamo) start up a food truck business as way of starting fresh and making the most of their newly found freedom.
The film is overall an enjoyable experience, but it must be critiqued on it’s lack of real conflict. Sure, as Casper begins to learn of how dangerous and universal the “Twitterverse” is, he lands himself in some sticky situations which are detrimental to his career, but there seems to be an overly optimistic and ‘happy-go-lucky’ feel about the film which detracts from the experience as a whole. Nothing ever seems to go horribly wrong; there isn’t a moment of absolute chaos that would really spice up the narrative.
Another criticism would be the screen time of certain big name stars. It seems that Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson only appeared briefly in “Chef” given their strong relationship with Favreau from the “Iron Man” franchise; their presence throughout the film (particularly RDJ) was underwhelming.
Having said that, “Chef” is a delightfully heartwarming experience that is well structured, supremely edited and at times incredibly funny. It’s not the most original story, however the spin on an old favourite is refreshing and satisfying to say the least. Exploring the online universe is both clever and humorous, plus it adds so much life to the film whilst giving it an ironic spin given the circumstances.
Well worth the wait, but it doesn’t stack up to the hype. “Chef” is easily palatable and thoroughly enjoyable. With some cooking montages being literally mouth-watering, it is advised that you go in with a full stomach, otherwise your immense craving and salivation will distract you from this fantastically charming piece.