Saturday, August 30, 2014


Plot: Carl (Jon Favreau) is a chef in LA, who gets in a Twitter fight with a critic, and ends up out of work. He gets an old food truck in Miami, starts making Cubano sandwiches, and drives back across the country with his 10 year old son (Emjay Anthony) and friend Tony (Bobby Cannavale.) They stop along the way cooking and learning life lessons. When they get back to LA, he meets up with his ex-wife (Safia Vergara) and the critic.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Chef is underrated, likeable and fun. The characters are interesting. The story is something different, and the music is good. 

Jon Favreau delivers lots of great performances especially the scene where is telling of the critic in the restaurant -- very tense and very believable. He had other good scenes with son Percy. 

There several minor characters played by celebrity actors like Scarlett Johansson (always good), Dustin Hoffman, Amy Sedaris, and especially Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr is hysterical. He kept changing the subject so fast you can't tell what he is talking about, but no matter what he means he is funny. 

The music is exceptional. The salsa heavy soundtrack is anchored by Mariachi legend Pereco Hernandez, who plays ex-wife Inza's father. Why do so many movies have boring soundtracks?  The music makes the cooking seem like a party. 

The photography is solid -- there are some food porn scenes early as Carl is tenderly working out his ideal menu, and a few panoramic landscapes as they drive back across America. 

The story is driven by an Twitter feud, and I thought that was refreshing. 

Starring, written and directed by: Jon Favreau

Cast: Safia Vergara, Bobby Cannavale, see above for more.

Rating:3.5 stars: Fun to watch, charming, peppy, clever, good performances. A well-crafted film. Why not 4 stars? 

More: .Favreau says this is the message of the movie
"I'm most proud of the fact that it shows there's a recipe for success if you dial into the shit that is going to make your life better. It's counterintuitive, but if you take time away from your career and invest it in your personal life, your career flourishes. That's a lesson I've learned a decade ago. That was the real underlying message of the movie." 

Even More: This Jon Favreau is different from the Obama speechwriter and White House staffer Jon Favreau.