Chef (4 stars)


Amusing and occasionally charming Jon Favreau project with some big name supporting roles

(15) 114min

Sandwiched right in the heart of this amiable comedy-drama by Jon Favreau is a big, fat career metaphor. The writer-director-actor plays Carl Casper, a divorced chef who works for a plush Los Angeles restaurant – until a food blogger (Oliver Platt) eviscerates his menu. Following a bust-up with the owner (Dustin Hoffman), Carl decides to find himself by opening up a food truck.

Favreau is, of course, the director of Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens, who – presumably – got tired of serving up such bloated Hollywood dishes that he decided to go and make the filmic version of a food truck. Still, if you ignore this slab of self-indulgence, Chef is an amusing and occasionally charming work that’ll tickle the taste-buds, as well as the funny bone.

Yes, be advised to eat beforehand; the dishes prepared here will have you drooling into your popcorn, in the way all good food films should. But that’s really the garnish; the filling is a father-son story, as Carl looks to mend his patchy relationship with his young offspring at the urging of his ridiculously understanding/sympathetic ex-wife, Inez (Sofia Vergara).

Pulling in some favours from his Iron Man stars Scarlett Johansson (who plays his restaurant’s sassy waitress) and Robert Downey Jr (as his ex-wife’s former lover), Favreau also gets some good work from John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale as Carl’s co-workers. Favreau, who apparently couldn’t cook before the shoot, also offers one of his most affecting performances since Swingers, the film that launched him.

It’s not all perfectly seasoned, however. There is a tedious long-running joke about Twitter – Carl seems to be the only person in his circle unaware of how to tweet – that doesn’t really work. And Favreau is sometimes too heavy on the schmaltz. But, largely, Chef will leave you hungry for more.

General release from Fri 27 Jun.

Chef Official Trailer (2014) Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson HD


  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 1h 55min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Jon Favreau
  • Written by: Jon Favreau
  • Cast: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson
  • UK release: 27 June 2014

A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to recreate his creativity, while piecing back together his estranged family.