By Darin Skaggs
The father spending too much time with his work troupe has been brutally beaten to death. It stands to reason for being a plausible situation in real life but so many family movies have attempted the dad learning to think about family first. Thankfully Jon Favreau’s Chef, which he stars in as well, gives a breath of fresh air to this concept.
Chef tells the tale of Carl Casper (Favreau), renowned chef at a high class restaurant. After a hard night of trying to impress a proclaimed food critic, they restaurant still gets a bad review. A few words are thrown around via social media, after a quick Twitter lesson from his son Percy (Emjay Anthony). This leads to Carl having a few viral blowups and getting fired. The rest of the film he tries to reconcile with his family and decides to start a food truck.
It’s a pretty simple story and nothing new presented but Favreau has such a clear vision and it seems to be personal for him as well. The dialogue in the film has just enough realistic conversation and the way people talk in films that it makes it relatable and helps it flow well. The amount of melodrama is at a minimal and the humor is relatable and pretty funny. It is clear Favreau knows what he is doing, there are only a few moments that don’t entirely work. He cast a bunch of his friends, who also happen to be high class actors. Most of the casting choices work like Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo. Others don’t work so well and just seem to have roles written into this solid drama just so they can have some camera time like Robert Downy Jr, Sofia Vergara.
A major theme in the film is family is precious, but again Favreau takes it one step ahead of the rest and also makes it about food and art in general. He spends time filming the process of making the food and has the characters talk about how to make the food so good. This film even seems like a metaphor for what happened with him and Marvel, he stops working with the big company and now he has to do independent type work. He comes out positive with this attitude so much so the conclusions all work themselves out a little too well. Chef is a fun time at the movies. It won’t change your life but it is still worth your time.