Movie review by Andrea Karen Hammer
As promised on the DVD cover of Chef, this film is a “deliciously entertaining comedy about starting from scratch.” Along with valuable messages about the importance of following your dreams, this flavorful movie explores healing broken relationships and rediscovering personal passions to experience true happiness.
With chef/co-producer Roy Choi, Jon Favreau is the writer, director, producer and star at the center of a disparate but ultimately cohesive cast. As the likable but often temperamental and at-odds Carl Casper, he initially appears as an unlikely match for the polished and well-heeled Sofia Vergara as his still supportive ex-wife. Emjay Anthony is an equally surprising surface mismatch as their fragile son, Percy, who finds a way to shed his shyness and become the social media hero of this film.
Eclectic Characters Add Spice to Saucy Chef Movie
In cameo roles, several eclectic characters add spice to this saucy movie. Scarlett Johansson, as the restaurant hostess and Carl’s “friend,” forces him to look at his life honestly and gives him an encouraging “kick” on the road to happiness. Dustin Hoffman’s delivery of the controlling restaurant owner, who is determined to uphold the status quo and block the chef’s experimental and artistic dishes, is pitch perfect. Oliver Platt, playing the restaurant critic creating a Twitter dust-up with Carl, is central to an unexpected twist at the end of the film.
John Leguizamo, playing Carl’s loyal friend Martin, adds a generous serving of hot peppers with authentic Hispanic zest. Following his spirited interactions as part of his buddy’s new food-truck cooking team–with the eager and increasingly lively Percy–are some of the high points of this movie.
Trio’s Cross-Country Food Truck Travels Include Popular Destination
Another captivating part of Chef revolves around the trio’s cross-country trip on their path to finding personal and professional joy. With stops including New Orleans, a thrilling moment was seeing father and son enjoy Cafe Du Monde, one of Artsphoria’s favorite coffees with this glorious destination’s signature beignets.
Besides sizzling shots of the chef cooking his creative renditions of ethnic food, this film was memorable for skillfully mixing in meaningful messages with hearty laughs. From exploring the struggles of this father and son to understand and connect to the courage required to walk away from an unsatisfying situation and re-create a more nourishing life, Chef is a film to relish and re-experience whenever hunger strikes.
Questions for Artsphoria’s Online Film Forum
What scenes made you laugh in this comedy, and why? What messages did you take away from Chef and continue to ponder? Would you recommend this movie to others, and why or why not?
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