CHEF – Rated R

 

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CHEF – Rated R

If you love John Favreau from such films as Iron Man 1, 2 & 3, or couldn’t get enough of him in SWINGERS, then come along for the ride of him writing, directing and starring in his latest creative masterpiece – CHEF.

Chef Carl Casper (John Favreau) is living the life as head chef of Riva’s (Dustin Hoffman’s) restaurant.  When the king of food blogs, the illustrious food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) decides to pay the restaurant a visit, Casper and Riva don’t agree on the food that should be served, in order to get a great review.

Like all good employees, Casper heeds Riva’s advice and doesn’t serve the exquisite meal he has been preparing all day.  Instead he sticks to the staples of the menu as requested.  Michel rips Casper a new one via his blog, and other social media outlets, including Twitter, as his throat cutting review of Casper and his less than stellar fare goes viral.

Casper calls Michel out privately on Twitter, but not knowing the ins and outs of this social media forum, he actually sent it to all of Michel’s followers, enticing all of them to retweet this message, as once again, Michel is getting the upper hand.  As the tension continues to grow between Chef and Food Critic, Casper requests Michel return to the restaurant, as he will prepare his own dishes for him to try this time around.  When Riva realizes that the restaurant is booked over capacity, he insists that Casper serve the mainstays of the menu once again to please all of the patrons, even Mi chel.  Casper decides to walk out, rather than live through the torture of not being able to serve his own personal creations again.

Meanwhile, In the midst of all this chaos, Casper is also dissing his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara), who only wants to help him be happy again in his life, whether it is by creating his own dishes, or by spending more time with their son.

When Casper returns to the restaurant to take on Michel in person, all heck breaks loose, as Casper becomes another media sensation on the internet – distinguishing any chance he might have to pick up a Chef position at any other high end restaurant in town.

Since he has so much time on his hands, Inez suggest that he join her on her business trip to Miami, where Casper can enjoy his son’s company, and maybe meet with her other ex-husband Marvin ( Robert Downey Jr.), who may just have a new proposition for Casper to partake in – Food Truck Owner.

Will Casper be able to get his passion back for doing what he loves to do – COOKING?  Will he be able to get his relationship back with his son, or have the months of him being an absent father taken a toll on their relationship?  Will Inez be a friend or a foe as Casper tries to get his professional and personal life back on track? And will this one crappy review from some arrogant a-hole food critic haunt Casper for the rest of his life?

I give CHEF a B+:  John Favreau is at his finest, bringing his boy-like charm and endearing demeanor to the big screen this time around.  He totally sold the character of him being a professional chef – I am guessing cooking is one of his passions in real life – as he can surely mince with the best of them – plus, you can feel his passion for his creations, and his family, all throughout the film.  Now we all know that he probably hand selected each and every actor to play their roles, especially Sofia Vergara as his ex-wife (What guy with the power to pick whoever he wants, wouldn’t consider the Latin bombshell in the process) but some other big names, like RDJ came out to play minor, if not insignificant roles, because I think that they believed in John and his vision for this film.  It has been many years since I have sat in an advanced screening and the audience cheered when the movie was finished, but that is exactly what happened for this film, which made me even happier to be a part of the viewing.  Is there anything better than clapping from the audience at the end of your film……well I would think NOT!!! The only part of the film that fell short for me was the very end, and I will leave it at that, as to not give too much away.  I loved the relationship twists and turns between all the key players, especially between Favreau and his son, which makes all viewers who are parents stop and evaluate their own relationships with their children too.  CHEF is one of those heartwarming films that grabs you from the first frame, and keeps you entertained and HUNGRY all the way through!

Kathy Kaiser