Adam Jones is a Chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behaviour. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars.
Food and Bradley Cooper. You have to admit that the premise of this film sounds pretty good. This Arthurian quest for a third Michelin star obviously takes place in a kitchen with a Chef so this movie should really make you love food as much as he does. That's what was missing to this movie. That would have fascinated me and engaged the audience more as well, to see how he could add his touch to a plate, work his magic. But what the movie really does is just tell us that Adam Jones is this brilliant chef because he gets pissed and throws plates against the wall. Nonetheless, I liked the characters and the actors embodying these characters. Bradley Cooper is as usual amazing as this super damaged chef, even if the first half of the film is stuffed with bad boy cliché, alpha-dog artistry and golden-boy greatness. The message is: to be a great chef you have to be an arrogant jerk who treats everyone like crap. How else will they know you're a genius?
In fact, he's one of the few actors who can convincingly play unlikable a-holes in the first act and end up earning your sympathy by the third. He also gets to speak French and throw his own version of Gordon Ramsey. However, why every time a woman and a man work together in a movie, do they have to form a romance? The only two movies I can remember not doing that are The Intern and Pacific Rim. There's something genuinely annoying about the way Sienna Miller's character simply melts into our hero's arms, like butter in a sizzling pan. They both do they best to generate legitimate romantic chemistry though. Plus, the movie goes up in quality every time Emma Thompson, as a sagacious therapist, turns up. Finally, director's swirling camera does a capable job at capturing the chaos of the kitchen, but the food rarely gets its due. Dishes look divine, but they never receive enough of a showcase to provide insight into Bradley Cooper character's skills (see Chef). And with the exception of one smart, unpredictable twist, the story just brags down in subplots.
Overall, everyone in the movie was great but the film itself surroundings these characters did not really illustrate why the culinary world should be as interesting as the movie wants you to think it is.