Chef, Written and Directed by Jon Favreau
This feel good film written and directed by Jon Favreau takes us on a Father/Son coming of age road trip through the competitive culinary world. Fueled by the social media feeding frenzy in which we live today, both Carl (Favreau, who stars as the misunderstood Chef) and his son Percy (irresistibly played by the young Emjay Anthony) grow up a little and teach each other a few things along the way.
John Leguizamo is perfectly cast, turning in what appears to be an effortless performance, full of heart and humor. As Carl’s best friend, fellow foodie and indispensable right hand man, Leguizamo is a joy. Oliver Platt, propels the story as a powerful food blogger who uses social media to mock Carl’s tired fine dining menu. While Carl would prefer to take chances and serve up fresh inspiration, the restaurant owner, played by no less than Dustin Hoffman, doesn’t agree.
Robert Downey, Jr. lends his intense star power to the film. The only thing Favreau and Downey’s characters have in common is that they were both formerly married to Percy’s mom, Inez, played by the stunning and funny Sofia Vergara. Speaking of stunning, Scarlett Johannson appears as Favreau’s sometime current love interest. No offense Jon, but really? Sofia Vergara AND Scarlett Johannson? Wow! You must be pretty proud of yourself. 😉
If it feels like I’m dropping names, it’s because the cast is full of stars. The casting is absolutely inspired. It’s the chemistry that carries the story. The relationships between Leguizamo, Favreau, the young Mr. Anthony are the heart and soul, but there are two more characters central to the film: food and social media. Seeing this film in a screening room packed with bloggers full of Mac & Cheese from the Stoffer’s food truck blurred the lines of reality to the point I feel like I was IN the movie! Maybe next time.
There’s quite of bit of foul language in the film, if you’ve every worked in a restaurant, you won’t even notice. You’ll have to use your own discretion as to whether this is appropriate for your kids. I thoroughly enjoyed Chef and plan to share it with the whole family, including our precocious 12 year old. The food cinematography is drool worthy. Don’t watch this on an empty stomach! You’ll be so hungry, you’ll eat your own arm!