Written & Directed by Jon Favreau
Favreau is Chef Carl Casper. Divorced from Inez (Sofia Vergara) mother to his tween son Percy, Casper is a mess. Unhappy in his job, living in a dump and dating his head waitress Molly (Scarlett Johansson) he’s a failure as a husband and father, so his success as a Chef is crucial. Cue the impending review by the hottest food critic in the land and Casper is under some serious pressure.
Favreau not only manages to carve out one of the better performances in his career – in turns tough, romantic, troubled and very very human, but he’s also able to steer his cracking cast to craft a thoroughly enjoyable feast for filmgoers.
Calling in big guns like Johansson, Dustin Hoffman as the owner of his restaurant, John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale as his kitchen mates, the director has great talent to put into action and as a performer there is genuine chemistry between all the players.
When the big night goes horribly wrong because Chef kowtows to Hoffman’s wishes to cook the old menu instead of backing himself with some news taste sensations, Chef’s career is on the edge and he is forced to re-evaluate what he is doing with his life.
Enter Inez’s ex Marvin – a suitably quirky playboy played with the usual panache by Robert Downey Jr. , who helps Chef out with a bomb of an old Taco Truck.
This is a really heartfelt tale about fatherhood and manhood and has some extremely delicious looking food, some poignant contemporary commentary on our instant electronically driven culture and the nature of blogs, Twitter and the internet and these are all used in a way that is believable rather than gimmicky.
Chef’s failure to grasp the nuances of Twitter the first time he responds to a barbed tweet sets the scene for the estranged Percy to teach him a thing or two about modern life, while Chef can finally pay the right kind of attention to his pining son as they embark on a roadt trip of redemtion cooking their way up the coast from Miami back to LA.
Featuring an absolutely pumping soundtrack of Cuban, Funk and Blues, Chef moves along at a right old pace and slows down in all the right places for the audience to digest the bigger morsels in the story.
Definitely one to watch again on release to the home market, go see this one for a sweet tale of a guy just trying to do the right thing. Work hard,pay the bills and do something he loves. An apt analogy for the hard working Favreau’s Hollywood career.