Some films don’t need major moments of drama or huge action sequences to be entertaining. Some movies work perfectly because they make you feel good. Sometimes you want to watch a movie where you are seeing someone do something they love, succeed and make their life better and Chef is that sort of movie.
The premise of Chef is a simple one. A disillusioned Chef, played by Jon Favreau, gives up his job at a posh, well-renowned restaurant and takes his friend and estranged son on the road in a food truck. There is little else to it than that. What the film relies on is the on-screen chemistry, the entertaining scenes and the amazing looking food.
The cast takes care of the chemistry perfectly. Favreau is very likeable and you are on his side, even when he is making poor life decisions. His relationship with his son, played by Emjay Anthony, forms the heart of the movie and Favreau isn’t a neglectful father, just a busy one. Where one movie might play this for high drama, Chef plays it down, offering a look at how a complicated set-up can work and is working all over the world today.
John Leguizamo offers some of the comic relief as the entertaining sous chef, giving Anthony’s Percy some life lessons about cooking on the go, while Anthony teaches the two older Chefs about how to use Twitter for advertising and the delights of social media. Scenes are entertaining but never too dramatic and there is never any peril to the story but just entertainment.
It also helps that the food at the heart of the movie looks so good. Favreau embodies the Chef of the title very well and watching him make complicated dishes just for fun or put as much effort into a grilled cheese sandwich for his son just to eat with little regard, is like watching an artist at work. I defy you not to be hungry after the movie has ended with the fantastic food on show.
As entertaining as the film is, some may find it slightly shallow. It is predictable and everything wraps up almost too neatly, with a very feel good ending. There are also practically cameos from great actors like Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr and even Dustin Hoffman that feels slightly wasted. These are minor complaints though as it detracts little from the film itself.
Overall, Chef is a simple, feel-good film which is effortless to watch but very entertaining. Favreau is fantastic, has great chemistry with the impressive, if at times wasted cast, and makes food look so good that you will leave the film both happy and hungry.
Rating – 4.5
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