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“Chef” – Review (POSITIVE)

June 19, 2014

chef-movie-photo-5-550x365If there’s one movie that will certainly make the top five of my Lucky 13 Best of the Summer – 2014 Edition, it’s Jon Favreau’s “Chef”. Fav’s makes a warm return to the realm of independent comedy, and perhaps has directed his strongest, most mature film to date.

Carl Casper (Favreau) is an acclaimed chef, though his family life seems to be heading towards a downward spiral. His artistic freedom is being jeopardized as his boss, Riva (Dustin Hoffman), continues to force Casper into making the same menu over and over, NO NEW CREATIONS! Those frustrations boil over into a raucous viral-videoed public confrontation against a restaurant critic who panned Carl’s food that his boss ordered him to make against his instincts.

Now with his career ruined, Carl’s ex-wife (Sofía Vergara) 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 (Emjay Anthony), an old colleague, Tony (John Leguizamo), helping, Carl takes a working trip across America with that truck to rediscover his passion in the culinary arts.

From my point-of-view, it seems that “Chef” is speaking out as an allegory for Favreau’s own career as a filmmaker. Look at the past work, starting out in the indie scene, writing “Swingers”, directing and writing “Made”, then moving pass the indie scene into the big budget productions with “Elf”, “Zathura”, and the “Iron Man” films (1 & 2).

After hitting high points from the first “Iron Man” it seems as though his career began to take a steady decline in his creative interests. “Iron Man 2” was an ok film, still remains the worst in the MCU canon, then the lackluster response of “Cowboys and Aliens”. Favreau for a brief moment lost his way, I feel.

Like his main character, Carl, Jon Favreau decides to return to his roots and make a change in himself, and it shows. “Chef” is undeniably smart, funny, sweet, and features an orgasmic array of food items that will make any movie goer drool over. Favreau wanted to shoot in real places, and keep the authenticity of a road movie alive. By going on a real road trip with the filmmakers (Miami-New Orleans-Austin-LA), the emotional attachment is far more gratifying than Tony Stark’s issues in “Iron Man 2”.

SEE THIS MOVIE! Just don’t see it on an empty stomach. You’ve been warned.

GRADE: A

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