If you do not eat before you go to see “Chef,” the latest film from “Iron Man” director Jon Faverou, you will certainly want to eat afterwards. Currently in select theatres, the sometimes touching, sometimes acerbic comedy showcases succulent food as much as it does the actors in the cast.
In “Chef,” Faverou plays Carl Casper, head chef at a trendy and successful Los Angeles restaurant. Both his professional and personal lives are unsatisfying. Carl‘s eminently practical boss (played by Dustin Hoffman) discourages the talented chef from experimenting with the tried and true menu that keeps regular customers coming back for more. Carl is recently divorced, and his lonely son, Percy, craves more attention from his always distracted father. Carl’s life hits a particularly bumpy patch when he and a highly respected food critic have a series of public confrontations. Shortly after this, he reluctantly outfits a food truck. Working with him is Percy, as well as his former sous chef, Martin (played by John Leguizamo). At this juncture, the film becomes a bit of a road movie as the three cooking amigos take a culinary tour from Miami to Los Angeles, with stops in New Orleans and Austin along the way.
Although the movie is rather predictable, it is still worth watching as it has a great cast. Jon Faverou is perfect in the lead role. His primary passion is the preparation of good food, and even though he prioritizes that above his family, the audience can still appreciate him. John Leguizamo is also strong as Martin, his devoted friend, who is also dedicated to good food. Sofia Vergara is very good as the lovely Inez, Carl’s ex-wife. The filmmakers resist the temptation to make them a feuding couple, instead they are depicted as usually able to put their son’s needs first. Robert Downey Jr. is excellent in a cameo as Inez’s ex-husband, who helps Carl finance his food truck.
The film has a good screenplay. We see the details of working in a restaurant and a food truck. The lively soundtrack and sharp location scenes really enhance the storyline. If you are in the mood for a solid comedy, “Chef” will fill your plate.