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James Porter

Movie Review: Chef.

Directed By: Jon Favreau.

Starring: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey Jr.

A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

Jon Favreau (Iron Man) writes, stars and directs here in the years best feel good film. Carl Casper is a famed chef who over creative differences, abandons his restaurant in order to pursue his own journey and start a food truck. As he travels from city to city, he learns more about the world, food, but most importantly himself.

Favreau takes a break from the summer blockbuster to bring us a smaller more heartfelt tale of a father and son. At its core Chef is a road trip movie where a father and son share some special bonding time.

Chef is a delicious film, filled with charming characters, authentic relationships and an array of enticing delicacies. Let this be a warning.....don't see Chef on an empty stomach! You will regret it!

Jon Favreau shoots the food in such an exquisite style that it's near impossible not to salivate at the sight of every tempting dish that Chef Casper cooks up for us. You heard the reviews: "Chef is food porn". I could not agree more. These exotic cuisines are shot in the most elegant way imaginable. After viewing Chef, you will never again deny that cooking is an art form that needs to be commended.

The most pleasant aspect of Chef is Favreau's directing, he simply lets you sit back and relax as he presents you with a story of family, friendship and food. Instead of him getting our blood pumping with Iron Man fighting bad guys (there is actually an Iron Man easter egg in the movie), he gives you a calming, laid back tale of a man discovering what he loves.

There is no complex plot here, no big twist and no big set piece. The film features a lovable cast with a few big faces in small roles. The whole film feels relaxed and is effortlessly funny and charming. The interactions between characters feels honest. Never before has Jon Favreau felt more genuine as both the director and the actor, this film is his baby and it shows throughout. From the mesmerizing photography of the food to the relationships, Favreau's style shines.

You would be doing your self an injustice if you don't eat before this picture starts, within minutes you'll be ravenous. Coincidentally Chef Casper's story is much like Favreau's. Casper leaves his highly paid job to discover a smaller, more inspiring job that might not be as grand in scope but is a personal love letter to the thing he loves most. After years of doing big budget action movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Cowboys & Aliens) Favreau decided to pursue a more personal task and Favreau's love for both film and food shines through more than ever in this succulent film.

As well as being charming and chilled, Chef is exceptionally funny. In a year where comedies are loud and filled to the brim with crude humor, Chef takes a more subtle approach to its comedy.

Favreau's feelings and personality are all in the subtext of the film. He's tired of making bloated, big budget action films and wants to discover what its like to make art again. He strikes gold with a truly delightful film that is funny, poignant and is filled to the brim with personality. Without the leash of a big studio holding Favreau back, he is free to make the movie that he wants to make. Freedom is crucial to creativity.

The relationship between Chef Casper and his son is really sweet and one scene actually got me choked up a little. The father/son relationship is one we've scene a hundred times before but its done really well because of the writing and both of the actors. Emjay Anthony who plays Percy, Chef's son, did a remarkable job. More then often, child actors don't do well in their roles so it was surprising to see Anthony do a good job in his role considering he hasn't starred in more than a few movies.

You may see Robert Downey Jr's. name a lot on the posters but he is only in the film for around 2-3 minutes, his scene is absolutely hysterical though and won't leave you disappointed.

Chef is a guaranteed good time, its sweet, hilarious and has a stellar cast who all perform to their best. This is the best feel good movie of the year so far and one that will leave you completely satisfied! I'm giving Chef an A-!


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