Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chef

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Let's get cooking!





Chef – 5 out of 5
 
Let's start this review off with hungry bellies.
 
I love to cook and bake.  I would never say that I am a chef or that I am even remotely close to being as amazing as the top paid chefs in the world (or even the low paid chef at my local diner who keeps talking to me about his old jar collection) but I can follow a recipe and the end result is both eatable and tasty.  Which is good because my girlfriend can’t cook, so we aren’t doomed to eating Ramen noodles like we are college students trapped in the bodies of hard working adults.  Anyway, that was my lame way of opening my review of Chef, so let’s now jump to the synopsis.  (Also, Karl, I have some more jars for you.  You promised me free hash browns for every three jars I bring you.)

But before we get to the synopsis, here's a picture from the film.


Oh my glob!  That grilled cheese looks glorious!
Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is a passionate cook working for a man (Dustin Hoffman) who often squishes his ambition.  However, when the opportunity to shine comes along when a food critic (Oliver Platt) visits the restaurant, Carl sees a chance to showcase his skills but is forced to stick to the “usual,” and the resulting bad review sends him over the edge.  After starting a flame war on Twitter with the critic, Carl loses his job and is sent into a spiral.  That is, until, he gets himself a food truck and, alongside his old coworker from the restaurant (John Leguizamo), he aims to make this truck his second chance and his time to rediscover his love of cooking.  He also uses the time to reconnect with his son (Emjay Antony) and ex-wife (Sofia Vergara).  However, Carl is soon shocked to learn that his truck is suddenly becoming a sensation when his more tech-savvy son uses social media to make the mobile food dispensary an internet sensation.
 


Jon Favreau seems like the kinda guy who would never take
the last slice of pizza but insist that you have it.  He seems like
a nice guy, is what I'm saying.


 

As you can tell from my perfect score, I really enjoyed Chef.  The movie isn’t a product that will change the world or shatter the parameters of filmmaking, it is just a fun, entertaining movie.  Written and directed by Jon Favreau, the film is a simple story that knows how to hit the funny marks perfectly and is capable of including the right amount of character growth and drama to it in order make it relatable.  Sure, the end of the film resolves itself in a grossly predictable, happy-ending way but it never felt like it robbed the rest of the film’s integrity or was too overtly cheesy.  And sure, the rekindling romance between Favreau’s Carl and his ex-wife isn’t developed the best but it’s still good enough to work. 
But who gives a shit because his character was married to Sofia Vergara!
 
Ultimately though, these weaker elements are completely overshadowed by the excellent treatment that is the relationship between Carl and his son.  Watching them come together over a fryer, Cuban sandwiches, and hungry masses outside the truck made the film sweet alongside hilarious and offered up a nice gravy of drama that was the right portion side and not too heavy or thick.  I'm not saying there were some parts that made tears threaten to fall out of my eyeballs but I'm not not saying that such a thing might have happened.
Just a dad having a heartfelt moment with his son on top of his food truck...
we've all been there.
 

It was nice of Tony Stark to provide the startup for
the food truck.
Additionally, the film has a fantastic cast all giving great performances.  Other than the great father/son dynamic from Jon Favreau and Emjay Anthony, and the great trio of those two with John Leguizamo, the movie also contains Dustin Hoffman and Scarlett Johansson working at the restaurant that Carl will soon put under his past employment portion of his resume, a cameo from Robert Downey Jr., and Oliver “Freaking” Platt as the snobby food critic. 
Seriously, I don't trust anyone who doesn't like Oliver Platt.
 
I can't even see the food Leguizamo is preparing but I'm
already hungry.
Everyone in this film is absolutely delightful and nails their characters down to help tell a very solid and absolutely amusing story.  I would have liked to see more interaction between Favreau and Platt in the film because of the tension it could have brought to the story but the few scenes they do share are great—and pretty much any scene that has Favreau, Leguizamo, and Anthony are the best the film has, especially the scene that involves the guys using cornstarch on their nether-regions in an effort to find comfort from the South’s humidity!
Just three cool dudes doing cool dude stuff.

The chants of "Feed Us" were heard the next town over.
Chef was one of those films that had me smiling through the entire ride.  Yes, even when Carl Casper is embarrassing himself by throwing a tantrum in front of the food critic and all the patrons in the restaurant.  Even when that was happening, the movie still made me giggle and smile because Favreau wrote a very funny film that was entertaining at every turn...and had some amazing looking food in it, as well.  Some might criticize me for giving this a perfect score when it has some problems with its writing—like how not nearly enough attention is given to Carl and his ex-wife—but those minor problems didn’t hurt my overall joyful experience...plus, I don't see them as problems at all, so get off my case already.  In the end, the film was just a delightful comedy that I, will no doubt, watch many times in the future.
And this happened in the movie and was a major factor in my perfect score.

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