Chef, the film
Wonderful entertainment, great acting, a feel good story of the first order. When an audience applauds after the final scene, you know you’ve just watched something special. Fair warning. This gem of a film doesn’t go to great lengths to present verisimilitude. It’s deliciously predictable but turns the “coming of age” genre on its head when you discover the identity of the character who’s finally growing up.
The film is populated with actors having a lark of a time, relaxed and having fun squeezing every drop of humor or zaniness every time they hear, "Roll, 'em!". Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, John Leguizmo, Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey, Jr., you’ve heard of them, right?
Then there’s writer, director, producer and main character Jon Favreau, who must know some pretty influential people in the business to get this film made. Favreau, as Chef Carl Casper, is a food obsessed, single-minded, hardheaded, softhearted chef and divorced father of Percy, played perfectly by 11-year-old Emjay Anthony.
Chef Carl is a perfectionist, a culinary visionary with fearless imagination fueling the dishes he prepares. In short order, we see him in action, passionately, perhaps manically, devoted to his craft and see why his marriage failed. Food is his life. Chef is a piece of work. And so is the cinematography that shows him lavishly preparing his creations
When the owner of his restaurant reneges on his promise to permit Chef to concoct whatever he wants, Chef tells him to stuff it. (You’ll never think of Twitter the same after this film.)
When his former wife’s former husband (I told you the plot has no shame) bails Chef out by giving him an dilapidated food truck, the film is chopped, diced and thrown into a creative blender. The result? A picaresque buddy film road trip that is filled with good luck, fabulous Cubano Sandwiches, terrific music, glorious coincidences engineered by a very tech savvy eleven year old kid and a finale worthy of cheers, smiles and fist bumps with strangers in the audience.
Do yourself a favor. Take this film in as your fluffy feel-good film of the summer. By Labor Day, I'll bet you'll want another helping of this quirky movie. I will.