True Review

True Review: Chef

True Review: Chef

by Niharika Puri June 21 2014, 9:23 am Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 39 secs

Critics Rating: 2.5 STARS*

Cast: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman.

Direction: Jon Favreau.

Produced : Jon Favreau, Karen Gilchrist, Sergei Bespalov

Genre: Comedy.

Duration: 2 Hours.

If The Lunchbox had the Indian audiences craving for a bite, this film will have you drooling. Chef is unabashed food porn, so keep something more substantial than popcorn within easy reach.

The plot is rather simple. Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is the chef extraordinaire at a posh restaurant, who is greatly strait-jacketed by the owner Riva’s (Dustin Hoffman) insistence on adhering to their traditional menu. That leaves little room for innovation, a point on which Carl takes a severe beating when an acerbic food critic Ramsay Michel (Oliver Platt) getsindignantat the lack of experimentation.The review is quite severe, equating Carl to a “cloying, needy aunt” that yearns to be liked.

A narcissistic chef and an unyielding critic. A social media spat was inevitable. So was some introspection regarding his future prospects.But trust the ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara), tech-savvyson (Emjay Anthony) and some more help from unlikely quarters coming in to be the wind beneath his wings.

Despite a premise that begins on conflict, Chef is an out-and-out feel-good movie with a peppy soundtrack and incredible cast chemistry. Which is good, because that is all that sustains the film for its two-hour running time. The film begins with a very promising opening scene and a first half. What worked was the banter between the chefs and Carl learning the ropes of Twitter the hard way.

It is the second half where the film gets into the mould of a road movie, with the scenes on a consistent loop of shopping for ingredients, cooking and driving. That is when Chef begins to get uninteresting, where even cameos by Robert Downey Jr. and a certain stand-up comedian do not liven things up. The cast has an interesting build-up but fritters away, with certain promising characters having little or nothing to do post-interval.

There is also an absence of plot twists, so the film trundles down a predictable path. The conflicts are easily resolved and the end,giddily joyful. Chef could have been a more interesting watch if Carl and Ramsey had a more consistent trading of insults on social media. Also, it could have been more convincing if Carl had obstacles in his way. If only it were easier to chase your dreams, without having to steeple chase over tricky hurdles.

If you get past the fake tattoos and raven-black wig-eyebrows combination, Scarlett Johansson did seem like a very promising character. Her role has been under-utilised.

The real star of the film is not the actors, but the food. If Master Chef has not tired you out, this film is a feast for the eyes. For other viewers like this reviewer who have a slight incline towards plot-driven stories, this one may feel inadequate.

However, Chef could appeal to an audience that is satisfied with good character banter and a breezy, culinary romp. But for those who seek a more inspiring tale on passion and the joys of cooking, Ratatouille makes for superior viewing.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.