Film FestivalsMovie ReviewMoviesTFF

CHEF Movie Review – Jon Favreau Cooks Up Mouth-Watering Family Fun

R....115 min.....Comedy
May 9, 2014

© 2014 Open Road Films

TFF 2014 NY Premiere: April 22, 2014
Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo,
Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt,
Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr.
CHEF – TFF 2014

SYNOPSIS: When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son (Emjay Anthony) to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen—and zest for life and love.

Chef, Jon Favreau’s first time in the writer/director chair since his feature debut Made (2001), is an endearing, adult coming-of-age story about a man who learns how to be successful both in his profession and as a parent. Winner of the Tribeca Film Festival’s 2014 Heineken Audience Award, Chef stars Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Jon Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Downey Jr.

Chef Carl Casper (Favreau), a prominent chef known for his creativity, had lost his way. When his career goes belly-up—thanks to some ill-advised tweeting and a viral video of him having a public meltdown—he re-focuses his passion and, with some help from his son (Emjay Anthony), ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), and food truck, finds that his new path could turn out to be infinitely more satisfying.

Chef’s tale is family-centric and fundamentally wholesome, focusing on the importance of balancing work and family, and nurturing the parent-child bond. (Incidentally, Chef also boasts a distinctly positive movie portrayal of an ex-wife (Vergara), a character type typically relegated to cheap/hostile humor, who is instead truly nurturing and dedicated to the best interests and happiness of her family, individually and as a whole.) Chef highlights the value of shared parent-child learning experiences, and shows how children can teach parents a thing or two about all the newfangled devices and tools of the digital age. Featuring uniquely creative social media uses in its plot and visual style, Chef emphasizes the benefits of these platforms, while also calling attention to the Internet’s inherently public nature and the need to use such tools carefully.

John Leguizamo, Jon Favreau, & Bobby Cannavale in Chef © 2014 Open Road Films

Despite its MPAA rating (“R for language, including some suggestive references”), Chef is, at its core, a family-friendly comedy. The movie does contain some profanity and dirty jokes, but truly “suggestive references” are limited to a handful of ScarJo’s signature smoldering stares (as she is seduced by Chef Carl’s cooking) and some sexual innuendo by RDJ (delivered at a truly impressive, ADHD-like speed). Any child who has a full appreciation of either scene’s intimacies will not be negatively affected by this movie—and any child who doesn’t won’t gain any new, inappropriate knowledge. In fact, the least child-friendly thing about Chef is its running time: 115 minutes. (If your kid is a fidgeter, do everyone else a favor: Get a babysitter.)

If family fun is on your weekend menu, Chef will serve it up in generous portions.

Open Road Films will release Chef in select theaters on May 9, 2014.


Buy CHEF Tickets

[youtube id=”5xlHJAEaf-s” width=”600″ height=”350″]

tff 2014
Stay tuned to Screen Invasion for more
TFF 2014 coverage!
tff 2014

Featured Image: © 2014 Open Road Films (Photo: Merrick Morton)

Follow @sarahdkatz on Twitter for daily chick flick, rom-com, rom-drom, and rom-dram recs.

Check out Sarah’s Author Archive for her other Reviews, Features, and Interviews,
and her feature column This Chick’s Flicks for posts on the chick flicks of now and then.

Previous post

DOCUMENTED Movie Review – How to Define 'American'

Next post

Pre-Upfront News: New Venture Bros. Special

The Author

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.