Film review: Chef (8 out of 10)

Warning: do not watch this film on an empty stomach.

Tuesday, 1st July 2014, 9:06 am

I did and spent most of it trying to ignore my rumbling tummy.

Chef is a father/son film, a buddy movie, a road movie - and it’s to the credit of star and director Jon Favreau’s that he manages to balance all the elements.

Favreau, who has starred in and directed some big blockbusters, shows his skill with this small independent film.

And I’m presuming it’s because of his contacts that he got some major stars to provide cameos.

The director of the first two Iron Man films (plus acting in them), has Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jnr, in an excellently batty brief role.

Plus there’s Scarlett Johansson and even Dustin Hoffman.

Add some excellent music and you have a great feel-good film.

Favreau stars as Carl Casper, a top chef in Hoffman’s restaurant.

However, one night he gets a bad review and decides to rant at the critic, which is filmed on various customers’ mobiles and uploaded on to the internet.

Humiliated, without a job and struggling to bond with his son and ex-wife he sets off in a food wagon with the young lad and a former colleague (played by John Leguizamo).

There are few surprises along the way but the delight is in the interaction between the characters, a proportion of which was ad libbed.

Favreau manages to show his great skills as actor and director and the whole film is well knitted together with good dialogue and some delightful comic moments.

Arguably, though, the most pleasing aspect is the food, and there’s plenty of it, lovingly created and treated with the reverence it deserves.

On the strength of this, let’s hope Favreau gets more smaller projects.

Film details: Chef (15) 114mins

Director: Jon Favreau

Starring: Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley