Have you ever noticed what you look like while watching a movie? If you’re like me, you probably have a straight face, or even a small frown possibly. This movie had me notice that there was a smile on my face throughout. The movie is Jon Favreau’s latest film, Chef, and as you might have noticed, I liked this movie a lot.
Favreau also stars in this movie along with Sofía Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Emjay Anthony, who plays his son. Favreau’s Carl Casper works at a nice restaurant as head cook employed by Dustin Hoffman’s character. He is tired of cooking the usual menu items and wants to make something experimental before he gets reviewed by an online food critic. Right off the bat I’ll say that while I can understand him wanting to do something different, he does put his foot in his mouth and screws up his own career. There’s a scene where he embarrasses his self by telling off the critic and learning about the power os social media. He is not the most likeable guy at first; he’s flawed, stubborn, but wants to change. Now it’s an underdog story. This is where it gets good.
While trying to reconnect with his family, Favreau decides to go to Miami where he buys a food truck, then goes on the road with his son, Percy and Leguizamo, a cook from his old job. If you are hungry, do not watch this movie. If you’re not hungry, it will make you hungry. If you love food or to cook, you will love this movie.
There are some great sequences and scenes where you see all this food being cooked. I have no interest in cooking, but this film actually made me interested in cooking and being able to cook as an art. Having the ability to take a handful of ingredients and create something delicious and original is something I wish I could do. I love food, just not preparing it myself. They also make classics like their go-to cuban sandwiches, called cubanos, which look like the best sandwiches in the world, or so they make it seem. I would have loved to be on set for this movie too, because I’m sure they ate most of the food that they showed.
Once the food truck is all set up, the three go on the road back to LA, stopping at major cities. This part was the funnest part of the movie for me. The father and son relationship grew during this time as they traveled through the US. They stop in New Orleans to eat beignets because that is where his son wants to go. “All kids want to go to Disney World and yours wants a doughnut,” Leguizamo says. I enjoyed the scenes with their back and forth so much, I literally noticed myself smiling during them. It had lots of heart and many endearing moments that simply make you happy to be watching them.
Social media played a large role in this movie, mostly Twitter. Favreau first finds out about Twitter when he finds out the critic tweeted about his food. This creates a chain of problems that he must face, making him infamous on the internet. This becomes useful to him however, thanks to Percy, who uses that fame to get a bunch of people to eat at their truck. It also is used as a tool to bring them closer together. Percy explains all the internet terms to him, learning about vines, tweets, and Facebook. Whenever someone uses Twitter, there is a dialogue box the appears on screen next to all the people that are tweeting. It works most effectively with the father son dynamic, but it is also a great look into how social media can make you famous, sometimes for the wrong reasons.
It seems the only reason Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr were in this is to make it an Iron Man 2 reunion. They all have their places, sure, but Downey Jr was just there for one scene to give Favreau the food truck. Johansson works at the restaurant and motivates him to start something new. I’m not complaining because they’re great actors, but they were just forgotten about the second half of the film, especially Johansson. It’s Favreau’s movie, so as far as I’m concerned, he can have as much of his friends as he wants in it.
The movie is a little long, it takes a little while to get going, but when it gets going, it is a whole lot of fun. The end wraps up very nicely, but also abruptly. Even though it does have a longer running time, I would have liked to see more. Overall, it’s a great road movie that is full of interesting and likeable characters, great music, and so much delicious looking food. Definitely a great Netflix pick if you want to see a movie that will keep you highly entertained throughout and make food sound so much better. In fact, I might get some right now.