Finally! I finally see a movie that I can firmly get behind. So far this year, I have seen a handful of movies that I can proudly proclaim that the feeling was ‘eh, it’s a movie’. Draft Day, Godzilla, and Divergent have all fit firmly on the list of movies that I was not offended by, but at the same time didn’t wow me. At least last year I could get angry at some movie or love them. This year, I’m taking the two and a half hours nap. The only movie worth watching in my repertoire has been The Fault in our Stars. But even though I admit that I enjoyed that movie, it was not my normal taste and did not bring the huge wow factor as movies from the past have given me. But finally with John Favreau’s Chef, I got the chance to see a movie that I can enjoy and watch over and over again and enjoy every time.
Chef is the story of Chef Carl Casper (John Favreau) whose life takes a turn for the worst when his boss (Dustin Hoffman) does not allow him to let his creative ambitions go, thus garnering an unfavorable review from a food critic which leads to an infamous meltdown in the restaurant and over the internet that leads to a small amount of internet stardom. After losing his job, Carl is tempted to Miami by his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) in order to start new and to have a better relationship with his son Percy (EmJay Anthony). After finding a passion in Cuban food, Carl’s ex wife’s ex husband Marvin, played by Robert ‘wasn’t expecting that’ Downey Jr. offers him a food truck in order to make cubanos out of a truck. The story then follows Carl as he attempts to piece back together his life selling cubanos out of a food truck in Miami.
If A Million Ways to Die in the West is the wrong way to handle a star-studded cast in a comedy, then Chef is the perfect example. This movie is a surprisingly A-List star packed movie as John Favreau pulls all the stops to get his written, directed, produced, and starring movie into the lime light. With surprising cameos from stars such as Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman, and Scarlett Johansson their minor roles are worked perfectly into the film and do not feel distracting or jarring.
Favreau is fantastic as the lead character Carl Casper and has great chemistry with his ex-wife played by Sofia Vergara, his son, and his sous chef played by, this guy is in everything John Leguizamo. While I’m not the biggest fan of Vergara who has stared in some appalling movies and has not won over my favor with the hit show Modern Family, she does sell me in her role as Inez. Overall, a perfectly casted movie.
The Perfect Blend of Drama and Feel Good Comedy
I am always a sucker for a movie that knows how to blend its drama and comedy and do so that feels organic and enjoyable. Chef is neither too funny or too dramatic, it is that right sweet spot that will keep you laughing, but firmly invested within the story at hand. Favreau is hilarious and his little tirade that starts the whole movie off is amazing and one that you could legitimately see happening in today’s social media age. The cameos get a few laughs and as I said before the cast has great chemistry and are able to generate some genuine laughter. But at the same time, you are still invested in Carl and hoping that he can piece back together his estranged family through this beaten down old truck making cubanos. It is simply a well placed, greatly blended movie.
No Big Wow Factor
The cons of this movie do not really fall on the movie itself, but on when it is released and its competition. This movie is a very quiet movie, not one that people would typically look to for a summer blockbuster movie and it is because of this that I worry that a movie like Chef will suffer. Timing is everything and being a quiet feel good movie might not be the best pick for a June release. There is no big wow factor, there is no major moment of intensity. It is a quiet feel good movie of a man piecing his life together and because of this, it may suffer at the box office and gathering a large enough fanbase.
Chef is a phenomenal movie. It has the right balance of laughs and drama, it is well paced, and will leave you with that feel good feeling that you have been looking for during this summer season. It may not have big wow factors that you would expect from a summer movie, but that is by no means a negative. Good laughs, a solid script, and a great story make this movies easily one of the best movies of 2014 thus far.
Final Score 4.5/5
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. Please check out my fellow reviewers on The Nerd Realm. It is good to be back from my mini vacation.