While Jon Favreau has been around for a while it was Iron Man that took him from great director to superstar status as he launched the Marvel Cinematic world. After spending time working on these types of blockbusters he is returning to smaller filmmaking with his latest film Chef and bringing along an A-list cast including John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, Oliver Platt, and Robert Downey Jr., but does it have the recipe to serve up a film worthy of his legacy?
Chef follows a chef who loses it after going head to head with a food critic only to have it go viral and causing him to lose his job. At the urging of his ex-wife he decideds to get back to his roots and starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family. From the moment this film starts you can feel that this is a different kind of film for Favreau. This one harkens back to his beginnings with a simple moderate sized production that is filled with passion. The story is pretty simple, but has enough meat to keep you entertained throughout. There are some fairly predictable aspects, but thanks to the great performances all around and great story it doesn’t matter. Favreau does double duty here as both director and star and knocks it out of the park. Whether intentional or not the story seems to mimic his own career of stepping away from the blockbusters to get back to his personal creative side for this film and it works on every level. The supporting cast is great especially Leguizamo who is always great, but here seems to be having a blast. He is one of those actors that is so diverse and always brilliant despite what may be happening around him that his presence alone makes everything better. Emjay Anthony, who plays Favreau’s son in the film does a great job with his role that requires a mixed range of emotions that are often lost on child actors, but he manages to bring it together and holds his own with every member of the cast. While the overall film works on every level and is filled with great performances, it is the food that takes center stage. It is amazing how much food parallels life and here it is used to perfection and the montage sequences of watching these creations come to life are great to watch and will have you leaving the theater hungrier than ever.
Whether you are a fan of any of Favreau’s previous work this is one that stands out not only on its own, but as one of his best to date. It brings all the passion of food, love, and family together to create the perfect course worthy of anything out there. There aren’t too many films that pack the punch like a lot of these smaller films so get out there and support them so that hopefully we will get more quality instead of all just flash.