After failing to impress famous food blogger Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) and being humiliated online, Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) quits his job at a well-known Los Angeles restaurant with little idea what’s next. Carl soon finds himself back in his hometown of Miami in an attempt to reconnect with his son, Percy (Emjay Anthony). While in Miami, he decides to team up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) and his best friend (John Leguizamo) to open up a food truck and reignite his passion for cooking, spending the summer road tripping across the country back to Los Angeles.
Written and directed by lead Jon Favreau, CHEF is an uplifting film that will leave you with a feel-good mood and a hunger for excellent food. CHEF is a humourous film that explores the shifting relationships between individuals and the changing role social media has on our lives, by showing just how quickly we can be left behind both socially and professionally if we are not up to speed with Twitter and Facebook.
CHEF boasts an absolute stellar cast – from excellent cameos by Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey, Jr., to the meatier roles played by Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, and Bobby Cannavale, everyone performs their roles with humour and sincerity. Favreau is fantastic as our hero Carl Casper, approaching the role with a refreshing sense of sensitivity and naturalness often lacking in contemporary film. John Leguizamo is great as the bubbly and rambunctious best friend, Martin, providing some of the best laughs in the film, and Sofia Vergara also shines as Carl’s ex-wife. Emjay Anthony, the actor who plays Carl’s ten-year-old son, deserves a honourable mention for his role as Percy, offering a relaxed and unaffected performance with strong chemistry between himself and Favreau.
Food porn enthusiasts will delight in cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau’s camera work, which lovingly captures the mouth-watering dishes as they simmer, sauté, and sizzle onscreen. While the food certainly stands out, Favreau by no means relies on gourmet food shots to capture his audience’s attention. CHEF’s storyline stands firmly on its own two feet. Favreau has written a heart-warming script that encapsulates the importance of family, and food’s ability to bring people together. CHEF is a fun film, one that doesn’t require a major in film studies to “get”, and yet one that will appeal to even the fussiest of film buffs for its genuine sense of charm, humour, and downright warmth.
A word of warning: don’t go to CHEF hungry, there were more than a few shameless groans of appreciation by the audience throughout the film -involuntary salivating will occur!
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