I recently went to see Chef, the new film written, produced, directed by and starring Jon Favreau. He's that bloke best known for Swingers and playing Monica's millionaire boyfriend in Friends. Let me start by saying that I want to hate Jon Favreau, simply for being able to write, produce, direct and star in a film. Talk about hogging the limelight! That is way too many jobs to have on one film. Enough of the showboating already, Mr Favreau and give someone else a go!
I didn't stay for the credits but I'm sure if I had they would have read something like...
Best Boy - Jon Favreau
Gaffer - Jon Favreau
Key Grip - Jon Favreau
Casting - Jon Favreau C.S.A
Head of Toilet Cleaning - Jon Favreau
Production Legal Services - Jon Favreau
Scarlett Johannson - played by Jon Favreau
Yes, I know I'm bitter and probably a little bit jealous of a clearly multi-talented chap, and fair play to the guy he does all of those jobs well. The plot is simple and nicely observed: a fine dining chef falls out with the owner of the restaurant he works in, humiliates himself on social media after a public spat with a food blogger, relaunches himself with a food van and sets off on a road trip bonding with his buddy and young son, ultimately rising back to the top through canny use of the same social media that brought him down in the first place.
There's a lot to like about Chef, in particular a nice cameo from Robert Downey Jr, the bonding of father and son over food, and the fact that a chubby, receding chef with a dodgy goatee can pull this lady with a bowl of spaghetti….
and this lady with a Cubano sandwich….
which just goes to prove that being a good cook can you make you attractive to the opposite sex, right? RIGHT?
It's a nice, warm, funny-in-parts film let down slightly by an overly sweet final course and some predictable characterisation, but it's well worth seeing now not only for the food porn (dribble) and Sofia Vergara (continue dribbling), but also the zeitgeisty themes (social media, food bloggers, street food vans) that run throughout the film which in 5 years times will probably seem so dated.
A warning though. Do not go and see this film on an empty stomach. Two hours of food shot beautifully in full HD left my stomach rumbling, and I think I may actually have let out an almost lewd groan during the scene where the tenderest smoked beef brisket falls apart under the gentlest slice of a pen knife at the back of some BBQ shack in Texas. I think the last time I made that sound in a cinema was back in 1992 during a scene featuring Sharon Stone.
Just make sure you have a table booked somewhere for when the film is over is all I'm saying...
Chef is showing nationwide in selected cinemas now.