Jon Favreau can go from directing/producing blockbusters such as the “Iron Man” franchise, and “The Avengers” to directing/starring in the new film “Chef” without missing a beat. It’s a tribute to Favreau getting back to his independent roots, which kicked off with him writing and producing the 1996 film “Swingers.”
In "Chef," Favreau stars as Carl Casper, a big loving guy, who’s the head chef at a popular Los Angeles restaurant until he's fired. The loss of this top gig, forces Casper to deal with what he should have done years ago - own his own his restaurant. Soon, that dream comes true - sort of. While in Miami with his ex-his wife (Sofía Vergara) and son (Emjay Anthony) visiting family, an acquaintance gives Casper food truck so he can be his own boss and cook/serve his own savory dishes. The only problem - he has to drive it back to Los Angeles.
The trip back to Los Angeles proves to be the best time of his life when he brings along his son and a cast of his old friends, played by John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale, As they travel from city to city they not only impress the masses with savory dishes they become closer than ever and discover the real meaning of family and friends.
“Chef” is truly a tasty treat. While it plays like an independent road trip film (which is not a bad thing in this case), at two hours long, as the movie floats along you never want it to end. The shots of the food (Cuban sandwiches, steak, grilled cheese, seafood and more) are so lovingly done that many of the theatergoers probably needed to go out to eat right afterward.
The chemistry between Favreau and the cast is undeniably real. The other players who had cameo to very small roles - Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey,Jr., Oliver Platt, Scarlett Johansson - had the perfect screen time and it never felt like a moment of just throwing in big names for the film.
The soundtrack also delivered mainly with the downhome sounds of New Orleans brass bands and Cuban grooves. The guitar sounds of Gary Clark, Jr. were also heard.
Yes, the warmhearted film is perfect except for the R-rating for language. Many parents will be turned off by the language and will not get to see how wonderfully the film's themes of perseverance, working out relationships with friends and family are played out.