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Jon Favreau (writer, director and producer) leads a hilarious all-star cast including Sofía Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey Jr. and young actor Emjay Anthony in this deliciously entertaining comedy about starting from scratch. When gifted chef Carl Casper (Favreau) suddenly quits his demanding job at a trendy LA restaurant, he's on his own to pick up the pieces of his once promising career. Finding himself in Miami, he decides to team up with his successful ex-wife (Vergara), best friend (Leguizamo) and son (Anthony) to launch a no-frills food truck business. Taking to the road, Carl reignites his passion for the kitchen and, along the way, discovers a renewed zest for life and love.
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Top Customer Reviews
The cast us uniformly terrific. Everyone turns in great performances - even the bit turns by folks like Oliver Platt and Robert Downey, Jr.
If you like cooking, delicious food and a good family dramedy, Chef is worth a spin.
PS: On a separate rant, this film really underlines the problems with the MPAA. This movie is rated R because characters swear in a way that is accurate to how cooks talk in the kitchen. But despite that language (which I imagine kids have heard anyways), this is one of the most wholesome and loving films I've seen in years. I'd much rather have kids see something like this than the majority of the uber-violent PG-13 action movies out there.
The movie spends too much of its time in Act 1 and raises the heat on the story very slowly, but sadly it never gets to a full boil.
The story itself borders between good and very good, but there were too many scenes that felt like promotional propaganda for the food truck industry, and several times during the movie I had to ask myself if the the funding came from the Food Channel or some kind of Food Truck Association. Twitter should have been given top-billing along with the other stars, as the social media tool is given more lines than any of the guest stars. Sadly, even on a 32" TV screen the pop-up conversations taking place in the Twitter stream which are intended to add to the story take more away from the overall movie because they are virtually unreadable. Having one of the actors actually read the responses would have been more effective, and they should have known better because this is a movie destined to be more popular with the streaming audience rather than the theater-going crowd.
All said, this is a worthwhile film to stream as part of your Amazon Prime or NetFlix membership, but I wish I had been more patient and waited another couple of weeks to save myself the Amazon rental charge.
Longer Review: The movie is a great story and message all the way 'round. The acting, writing and direction is superb. The filming on location in Miami, LA, Austin and NOLA is all exceptional with authentic local flavor.
While there is some cursing that may not be appropriate for some small children, it is otherwise a great flick for everyone. It tells several stories all in one including (1) pursuing one's dreams combined with hard work pays off and (2) family is extremely important. In an age when Hollywood wants to turn every hero into a villain, Jon Favreau tells a story of hard work and success without the need for tearing anyone down.
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