Film Review : Chef (2014)

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IMDB Score – 7.9
Rotten Tomato Score – 87%

Directed By – Jon Favreau
Starring – Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Sofia Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Roberrt Downey Jr, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris, Russell Peters, and Emjay Anthony

A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

It has been a fucking long time since I was last in a theater; a month I believe. That’s not good when you’re supposed to be a film blogger but what am I going to say? I’ve been busy with my real person job and I honestly just haven’t been pulled out to the theater in the last month by anything. Like always, I’m waiting to see the bigger films like Godzilla/X-Men until the crowds die down because I get anxiety from assholes talking during the movie I paid for. This doesn’t necessary mean I wait for everything as I’m going out tomorrow to see “The Double” and I’m also writing this review right now on Jon Favreau’s latest film, “Chef”.

First let me say that I was in the theater with mostly old people who proceeded to talk during the whole movie. The thing is, it was okay! I actually didn’t mind because of how the film was and I’ll get into that in a minute. I’ll also say that old men don’t give a shit who they sit next to. I was sitting three seats from the left in a row and to my right were four open seats. Older couple walks in, sits down, to my left. They didn’t give a shit if they could of had empty seats next to me. They wanted to sit near the isle and I was going to have to sit next to the old man. I didn’t mind one bit. Who the hell cares? First off, I was there first and I’ll be damned if I’m going to move my seat just because somebody else sat next to me for no reason but why would I have to? The guy wasn’t wheezing like the penguin from “Toy Story”. He didn’t smell like death and I felt no fear that he was going to hold me hostage before Mr. Death came by and took him away. I don’t understand the heebie jeebies with sitting next to people in a theater unless they’re Paul Reubens. They’re just people.

I digress.

Chef! I had the choice to either see Chef or the Spiderman sequel and you know what? FUCK SPIDERMAN! I’ll take an original film over that cash cow any day. I believe I was first introduced to Mr. Favreau while watching the film “Swingers”, which while not being directed by him, both starred and was written by the man. Jon has gotten a little bigger in the wallet and waistline since then but he’s a talented writer/directer and this seemed like a return to form for him. It was. I ended up really enjoying the film.

The film centers around Carl, played by Favreau himself, who gets fired from his job running a restaurant for telling a food critic to shove it. He then grabs his partner and ten year old son and embarks on a journey to create the ultimate food truck.

I should not have gone into this hungry. This is what most of the people in the theater were talking about, the food. The food was gorgeous and goddamn mouth watering. It was like watching an episode of “Chopped” instead all the food looked somewhat normal and tasty. There’s a Cuban place near me that does authentic Cuban food while blasting Cubano music from 100 speakers. I’ll be visiting them soon because I have a hankering for a Cuban sandwich now. I wanted to tell everybody to shut up but I would have been kicked out by an angry mob of starving lunatics. It was acceptable and I went along with it. The music in the film is also fantastic. They used a very horn heavy selection of songs mixed in with a little up tempo blues. One of my favorite blues musicians, Gary Clark Jr, actually makes a cameo. Speaking of cameos with a guy who has a Jr. at the end of his name, if you’re going to see this film because of RDJ, don’t. He’s in it for five minutes. He isn’t funny. I suppose he’s just doing his old buddy Jon a favor cause the film was fine without him. Same goes for Scarlett Johansson. She was in the film to add weight to the main characters downfall and once she did she was gone. The stars who line the top of the billing were merely expensive decorations. The real meat and guts lie with Favreau and his on screen son played by Emjay Anthony, who was delightful. It’s their story and somehow it came to a heartwarming end when I thought it was going to be cheesier than the guys fantastic looking grilled cheese.

The film did have some pacing problems though. There was a scene with Russell Peters, who played a cop, that was just very strange and distracting from the film. It should have been left on the floor like most of the final third of the film. The two hour run length really should have been cut down to about an hour and a half but it’s a small complaint on an overall good film that does nothing besides make you hungry and make you feel good. It’s a refreshing film in the midst of all the superheros and monsters that are going to be filling our screens in the next couple of months. It’s also a great return of a promising and humble filmmaker.

I’m going to go make a sandwich now.

4/5

Suggested Viewing : Big Night, The Station Agent, Anthony Bourdain shows, Ratatouille




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