A man returning to his love, a father getting to know his son, a sweet, leisurely told story, the power of social media, a road trip, mouth watering food, an excellent child actor along with a first class cast equals a film that should get your attention.
“Chef” is a touching film that really should be seen without expectations and will having you walking out of the theatre with a smile on your face and might even cause out loud laughter at points along with, possibly, a tear here and there because of the tenderness between father and son.
Jon Favreau stars as the chef and father , wrote the screenplay and directed the high wattage cast, who quits his job when his boss, Dustin Hoffman, tells him to cook and serve the menu as is not what he wants to cook to get even with a food blogger, Oliver Platt, who writes a scathing review of him and his cooking. With some prodding from his ex, Sofia Vergara, rich (not really clear how she got rich or what she does for a living) wife who is also the ex of Robert Downey, Jr.
Favreau and Vergara share custody of a son, played by Emjay Anthony, without a self conscious bone in his body, who happens to be a whiz at, and with, the social media from posting videos to getting attention by tweeting and has to teach his father how thinks work.
There is no spoiler in saying that the chef buys and remakes a food truck with the help of former co-worker, played by John Leguizamo, though another co-worker, Bobby Cannavale, stays at the restaurant taking over the chef’s job. Scarlett Johansson, as the hostess of Hoffman’s restaurant and a sometime lover of Favreau, with Amy Sedaris as a publicist, add some unnecessary spice to the film. (Heck when you are the star, writer and director of the film why not have Vergara and Johansson as lovers?!)
Favreau’s relationship with Anthony is believable and just on this side of being too sweet. Adding to this the father’s search for who he really is also realistic.
“Chef” is not an award winning movie that is a must see but in this season of loud, special effects, comic book movies, it certainly is worth seeing even, as with most movies today, if it is about 10-15 minutes too long at 115 minutes. By the way there is a dare you to stay still in your seat soundtrack!