“I may not do everything great in my life, but I’m good at this. I manage to touch people’s lives with what I do and I want to share this with you.”
– Carl Casper
SYNOPSIS: Carl Casper is an acclaimed chef with a family life that seems as decaying as his artistic freedom. Those frustrations boil over into a raucous viral-videoed public confrontation against a restaurant critic who panned his cooking of food that his boss ordered him to make against his instincts. Now with his career ruined, Carl’s ex-wife offers an unorthodox solution in Miami: refit an old food truck to offer quality cooking on his own terms. Now with his young son, Percy, and old colleague, Martin, helping, Carl takes a working trip across America with that truck to rediscover his gastronomic passion. With Percy’s tech savvy and Martin’s enthusiasm, Carl finds that he is creating a traveling sensation on the way home. In doing so, Carl discovers he is serving up more than simply food, but also a deeper connection with his life and his family that is truly delicious in its own way. – via IMDB
This is something I have been waiting a while to look into (sounds like so many of the movies I have been watching recently), mainly because I really enjoy Jon Favreau’s work. Plus a food flick? I was not sure how this was going to work, but it came back with solid reviews, and let me tell you, with good reason. I think Favreau is actually a pretty damn good actor, and his skills were out on display here. I thought he was a fantastic chef, and his character made me laugh and exasperated the hell out of me because he was relatively miserable (by his own choice), and really did not focus on his son.
Granted, there is nothing revolutionary about this story whatsoever, but Favreau pulls it off, making it sweet, heartwarming and funny. The performances all round were so good. Scarlett Johansson again managed to not work on my last nerve (she is really going back to where I used to like her), John Leguizamo delivers such a likable character that gave me plenty of laughs, the friendship between him and Carl really was something to check out, Emjay Anthony was adorable as Carl Casper’s son, Robert Downey Jr had a great little cameo and Dustin Hoffman really was not a very nice guy – though I loved his Stones quote, of course.
One thing Chef did super successfully was the social networking integration (specifically Twitter in this case). Usually that is something that is never pulled off properly in movies and instead adds to serious annoyance levels, but in the case of this it was done properly, adding to the story and not taking away from it. It was a wonderful journey to undertake with Favreau and his portrayal of Carl Casper, moving from depression to losing everything to working to get his life centred again, repairing his life, so to speak.
I would highly advise, however, that you eat something prior to viewing or have a magnificent mean/sandwich/whatever when you are watching it because just watching that food the whole way through really got me hungry. Serious food porn going on here.I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the direction, the score and camerawork for this. Again, while predictable in places and nothing we have never seen before, Chef carries itself well, and is definitely something to see!