Friday, April 09, 2021

Chef: Another of the Great Food Movies

Movie Review: Chef (2014)
Version: Netflix

One of my favorite film writer-producers is Jon Favreau. As my wife says, "He has a real feel for people." He does. Favreau has a feel for what audiences like and for what make characters interesting. As a writer, Favreau also has a flare for the humorous and the emotional. All this came together in the making of Chef, a heavily character driven story about a successful gourmet chef in California who finds himself in a flame war on Twitter with a leading restaurant critic, which causes him to lose his job and his professional dignity in front of the whole world. 

Jon Favreau is also a terrific actor and he plays the male lead as Chef Casper in this movie that he also directs, playing opposite Sofia Vergara as his ex-wife, Inez, and Emjay Anthony as his son, Percy. There is also a particularly intense scene in the restaurant in which he plays opposite Oliver Platt as the critic Ramsey Michel and an unpleasant confrontation with the owner of the restaurant, Riva, played by a usually affable Dustin Hoffman. Favreau is his most amazing with his kitchen staff, including souse chef Martin played by John Laguizama, and in scenes with Laguizama and Anthony teaming together in a taco truck while traveling from Miami to California with many scenic stops in between, trying to save his career and his relationship with his son. You should see Favreau chop vegetables, butcher a pig, sauté in a pan, like the real thing! He's also great at plating food. As a creative director, he made Chef another of the great food movies!

There are high points and low points in this film. But the highs well overcome the lows, and the lows are the subject matter not the techniques. You will breeze through this film with the amazing cinematography and wonderful acting and what is a great script. I dare you to not like this film! It's a plain joy to watch with Favreau leading affable characters who make you like watching.