June 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Posted in 2014 | 2 Comments
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Ya know, I have seen my fair share of crap this year, including well reviewed crap.  Yet, I still seem to trust critics and, when this film got only a 68% on Metacritic, I ruled it out.  That is, until a friend recommended that I see it.  The funny thing is that this film shouldn’t work.  It’s like every cliché feel good movie I’ve seen a dozen times: it’s the road movie, the foody movie, the father-son movie, the redemption movie, and on.  Yet, it does work.  Really really well, in fact.  Jon Favreau is what you might call a Hollywood quadruple threat.  He directs (“Elf” and the “Iron Man” films), produces (“Iron Man,” “The Avengers,” the “Revolution” tv series) and he acts (“The Wolf of Wallstreet,” “Daredevil,” and, yes, “Iron Man”).  However, where he really shines is when he writes.  He appeared on the scene in 1996 when he wrote, directed and starred in was “Swingers.”  Now again, for the first time in almost 20 years, he wrote, directed and starred in this film and managed to recapture much of his original magic.  What makes “Chef” work is how sincere, generous and good-hearted it is.  So many films are cynical money makers.  Even “indie” films are self-consciously so.  But I could feel Favreau’s affection for his story, his actors and the audience in almost every scene.  It’s no surprise that he can get this cast of amazing actors to do walk-on parts.  Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris and Bobby Cannavale all spend just a few minutes (sometimes one scene) on film.  But the movie really works because the trio of Favreau, John Leguizamo, and young Emjay Anthony, play beautifully together.  The story is strongest during their scenes together; it manages to be charming, funny, tender and kinetic.  Combine that with some amazing looking food and a rich soundtrack including blues, Zydeco, jazz and Cuban music, and you have one of my favorite films of the year, so far.  I can’t remember the last time I was so thoroughly charmed by a “feel good” movie.  After the steady dose of the cynical or the sad that I have seen lately, this was a welcome surprise.



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  1. Glad to hear it. The trailer seemed so cliche’ed that I wrote it off. I’ll give it a look …

  2. […] Chef […]

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