There are about a half dozen food puns I could use while reviewing Jon Favreau’s new movie, “Chef”. I could say that the film is “one tasty treat”. I could tell you that you’ll have “a sweet time”. Or I could go the route of saying the cast “perfectly complement one another”. But I won’t subjugate you to any of those awful puns, and will just tell you that “Chef” is an infectiously fun and colorful movie that you should not see on an empty stomach.
Favreau writes, directs and stars as Carl, the head chef in a Los Angeles restaurant who quits after a food critic gives a harsh review of his meal. Carl then sets out to start a food truck with one of his former cooks (John Leguizamo) and son. Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson co-star.
“Chef” knows what it is and doesn’t try to be anything else. Its sole purpose is to create a fun movie with good-looking food and catchy music, with major cities like New Orleans and Miami as backdrops. Favreau, known for directing the first two Iron Man films, has a nice touch in the chair here, and delivers a solid, at times heartwarming, performance. The chemistry between him and his son, played by Emjay Anthony, is outstanding and adds a family element to the film. It is hard to find kid actors who don’t quickly get irritating, and even harder to find talented young actors, but Anthony holds his own in every scene with Favreau, and even adds a few laughs along the way.
There are about a dozen big-name actors in “Chef” and I’m not going to spoil them all, but each one adds their own flavor (pun intended) to their scene (if you watched the trailer you know who’s in it, so I suggest you skip that if possible).
I had dinner 15 minutes before this movie and I thanked God I did because there isn’t a scene in this film that doesn’t feature some kind of mouth-watering entrée or succulent dessert. From lava cakes to pasta to Cubanos sandwiches, if I had been hungry while watching it would have been more torturous than an Adam Sandler movie marathon.
There are points in “Chef” that drag a little, and by the end it does feel like it succumbed to clichés, but overall, “Chef” is an entertaining, and at times very funny, film. It features a great cast, a toe-tapping soundtrack and delicious looking food. You should see it while it’s hot! (You didn’t really think I wouldn’t end this review any other way besides a food pun, did you?)
Critics Rating: 7/10