Check out the Video Lab Podcast, where Sam and I talk about this movie in more detail:
“Chef” is a fun, low stakes movie, resting its script on the clichés of prioritizing your passion and family over unfulfilling any job or money.
The first two acts really just establish that the main character (Carl) isn’t doing right by his relationship with his son, or himself with a chef job that doesn’t let him be creative. After Carl collapses with those realizations in the middle of the movie, the third act doesn’t have any tension or real drama to it. He finds his passion cooking with his son on a food truck as they travel across the country. Everything just falls into place—he gets his own restaurant, he gets his too hot for him wife back, and everyone is happy, all because of their pursuit of passion, with no real stakes being put to the audience.
Credit where due, its appreciated that the writers didn’t throw a cheap gimmick to raise the drama, and instead just let the movie sit with a gentle rise to the end. What’s here works as a fun romp by a father and son as they grow closer with a love of cooking. What “Chef” does best is showcase food and cooking by our main character as central to his person. You can see his passion in the endless shots of delicious looking food.
Music choice is a highlight of the film. A lot of upbeat latin tracks makes a good backdrop for the audience birds eye of the kitchen experience. It’s on spotify if you want to check it out by searching “Chef soundtrack.”
“Chef” is an absolutely star studded film, from Favreau, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, to Robert Downey Junior, who delivers the funniest sequence of the movie. No one actor stands out as a particularly stellar or essential performance, but each make the film a little better.
“Chef” is fun that I could recommend for those looking for an uncomplicated feel good film. It might taste as good as a chocolate lava cake, but only lingers about as long too.