Chef; film about a man rekindling his passion for cooking whilst also reuniting with his estranged wife and son or a love letter to modern technology? Chef is a warm romantic comedy/drama firmly in the here-and-now with social media references galore.
A chef loses his restaurant job after refusing to continue cooking the same old menu. With no money and a desperate need to rebuild his waning reputation Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) starts up a food truck in a bid to reclaim his creative culinary promise and build bridges with his estranged family.
Chef is another predictable romantic comedy/drama with a warm and uplifting storyline. While you may get to the end feeling as though you wrote the script yourself, for all its predictabilities, it is still an engaging and uplifting watch. With a stellar cast including Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr (for all of about two minutes) Chef is rich with good performances, subtle comedy and beautiful visuals. The stunning locations and vibrant colours make it a feast for the eyes and all the amazing looking food, celebrated through careful framing and close ups will leave you salivating and very, very hungry.
Despite all this I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed with Chef. Its main downfall is the constant, intrusive soundtrack that is prevalent throughout at least 90% of the film. There are very few moments where there isn’t jumpy, upbeat music in the background and at times the music interferes too much with the dialogue and it becomes a strain to hear what the characters are saying. With the very simple solution of merely adjusting the sound levels, this constant, grating, jolly music becomes more and more frustrating as it becomes harder to actually hear what’s being said. There’s that irritating ‘have I missed something important?’ feeling whenever characters are speaking over music and eventually paying any attention to the dialogue doesn’t even seem worth it.
With a pretty generic storyline, Chef boasts nothing out of the ordinary except the aforementioned brilliant cast and beautiful visuals. It isn’t as funny as the trailer perhaps promised and although it’s warm and enjoyable and a reasonably good watch it still leaves you feeling slightly unfulfilled. And don’t even get me started on Favreau‘s casting choices for his two love interests (one being his estranged wife and mother to his son). Talk about unlikely pairings! What is it with these Hollywood films and their refusal to be realistic with their casting choices for female characters? But that’s a different post entirely.
All in all Chef is definitely above average for a romantic comedy/drama and is well worth checking out. It’s warm and vibrant and mildly amusing and is a decent, harmless bit of fun. The great cast doesn’t hurt either. Just make sure you watch it after you’ve eaten otherwise your stomach will be rumbling like no one’s business!