“The kitchen is my domain,” said Chef Carl Casper.
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Writer/director/actor Jon Favreau starts his Iron-Man-free diet with a spoonful of savory culinary tale that tastes, exactly, like chicken “indie” soup through his latest Chef. As soon as his LA chef-turns-celebrity, Carl Casper (Favreau) gets sacked from the restaurant he used to be captain-ing in for clamoring a nation-wide-known food blogger (Oliver Platt), Favreau begins his road-food-movie with smooth allez cuisine virtuoso.
While having hard time maintaining his foodie integrity and getting along with his son (Emjay Anthony), Casper accepts his ex-wife, Inez’s (Sofia Vergara) advice to go independent—chasing his Miami food truck dreams. Along with his sous chef partner (John Leguizamo), Casper, son, and the food truck wanders half of the US from Miami through New Orleans and back to LA. This ‘celeb-twit’ chef gets back to his food fetsih and dabbles back to art of cuisine he’s always craving for.
Watching Chef is like watching (or observing, most appropriately) a real chef prepares to serve real foods. You need to be patient waiting for the chef (in this case, Favreau (in this case, as a director)) to prepare the ingredients (the hard time Casper dealing with his strict-to-the-menu boss, dealing with his emotionally unstable son, and dealing with Twitter as well as the fat-ass food blogger that gives him a bad review). Then, the seasoning time comes so tempting as Casper begins with the food truck. The serving time is rather unhealthy and goes too quick; as the road movie begins roaming the side of the US back to LA, the movie goes real fun—nice and quick fun—just like finishing up what the chef has prepared for so long.
Chef is a slow starter road movie that goes too detail on the look of the food it forgets the real essence of the plot. The “cooking time” goes in a degree of intensity that feels erotic sometimes; therefore, Chef is a real food porn to deal in movie. The second half of the film goes with fun pacing that rhymes with the Cubano dynamic of the food truck; the brake is efficient—using montages of social media along with iPhone generation—a real look of “food truck” as an impact of pop culture, just like Twitter.
Wish that Favreau slows down a little bit on the “foodie” visuals, he can work more on other details—making this movie more than just a banal road movie borrowing the tempting visuals of sandwiches. Just like the on-screen lava cake, the outer crust is left under-cooked to let the chocolate molten; the plot is left “under-cooked” to let the food porn highlighted, Chef is.
Comedy Written & Directed by: Jon Favreau Starred by: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Emjay Anthony, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr. Running Time: 114 mins