Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt
Hollywood films with plots revolving around food are almost always fun. Whether it’s the delicious imagery on display or the sheer automatic hunger pangs running in your belly while watching a film, most films based on cooks and recipes and related elements are vastly enjoyable. 'Chef' joins the line of comedies and fits right in like jelly in a sandwich.
Director Jon Favreau stormed into the scene with the first 'Iron Man' film, stumbled with the second one (although it made money) and crashed and burned with 'Cowboys vs Aliens'. This was a guy, who prior to 'Iron Man', was a good indie filmmaker, and by doing 'Chef', he goes back to his roots in a pretty good way.
In 'Chef', Favreau puts himself in the role of Casper, a chef who takes a negative review of his food really badly and gets into a twitter war with the critic, goes viral on YouTube (not in a good way) and loses his job due to his stupidity. Predictably, the rest of the film is just about how he bounces back, but the clichés and familiarity of the plot are compensated by consistent, quick-witted, razor sharp comedy, likeable characters and some truly hilarious profanity.
Favreau takes all the internet based jokes and applies it to the offline world and lampoons himself in the process, which is a ton of fun. Hollywood filmmakers have realised the potential in harvesting the power of social media and online reviews, and are now using those things to make the internet like them. Favreau succeeds very well on that front in 'Chef'.
It helps that the cast includes Modern Family's Sofia Vergara, Favreau's Marvel friends Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and even biggies like Dustin Hoffman and Oliver Platt. That winning cast, along with the mouth-watering food shots, makes Chef a fun and breezy ride. There’s some saccharine fatherhood plot thrown in, but it fortunately doesn’t come in the way of the laughs. The ending may seem anti-climactic and a bit of a letdown considering what came before it, but it’s a small niggle in a film that has a lot of enjoyable moments. Watch it, enjoy it, and come back home and cook your favourite dish.