ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Chef: Pass the Cornstarch

Updated on May 16, 2014
Source

4 Stars

4 stars for Chef
Source

The Review

I currently live about two hours outside New York City, and Jon Favreau’s Chef has only been released in New York and LA. Thus, I spent my Thursday making the trip to New York, and I must say, it was worth it. If you’re a foodie, go see this film. If you love a good road trip movie, go see the film. If you have a heart, go see Chef. I’m not saying it is perfect, but with anything wonderful will come a few flaws. Chef is fresh and honest, a film that is so relatable even if your culinary prowess ends at microwaving ramen noodles. (Like me!) While the food, of course, plays an important role, the story isn’t so much about creating delectable cuisine, but encourages us to remember the truly important aspects of life.

The film starts out with the 90s disappointing dad storyline: divorced dad is too busy at work to pay attention to his kid. However, it is clear that Carl (Jon Favreau) cares about his son immensely; he just doesn’t know how to balance his love for his job and time for his family. He is creatively stifled at work by his rigid boss (Dustin Hoffman), and after a scathing review by a well-respected food critic (Oliver Platt), Carl has a meltdown at the restaurant. So starts a journey of enlightenment for Carl, a journey I can wholeheartedly relate to. Carl says something in the film that I was so surprised to hear because I had recently said the same thing, almost word for word. I have always known what I want to do with my life, I’ve always known what my next step would be, but I have reached a point where I don’t know which way to turn. So many of us know how this feels. It is the unknown that frightens us, more than difficult choices, and I think Chef deals with this in an exceptionally honest way. Once Carl finds his passion – with the help of his son, best friend, ex-wife and even her ex-husband – he is able to reconnect with all the important aspects of his life he had pushed aside.

We live in a world of technology: fast paced, short attention spans, looking through the lenses of cameras instead of those in our eyes. A negative spin has been put on our social media culture. Kids these days would rather spend all their time behind a computer than talking with their friends. While I agree with this to a point, Chef takes a different view. This story is one for the 21st century, and heavily relies on social media to tell it. Percy (Emjay Anthony) is Carl’s tech savvy, ten year old son, and through the use of Twitter, Facebook and Vine, is able to connect with his father and make the El Jefe food truck a huge success. Toward the end of the film, Carl watches a video, created by his son, of all the moments of their trip together: a video scrapbook, if you will. Without this video, the end might have turned out differently. Chef successfully preaches about the power of social media, the good and the bad.

Besides story, I think it is necessary to note the marvelous production quality. Seeing that Twitter plays a large role in the film, I really appreciate the fact that I didn’t have to stare at the screen of a tablet or phone every time a tweet was sent. In post-production, tweets were added on screen, and the Twitter bird even flew away once the tweet was sent. That’s definitely something I haven’t seen before. Although the editing toward the beginning comes off slightly rough, as the film progresses, the editing improves. On the road trip, social media is used in montage form for quite an impressive sequence. The soundtrack is even fun and fresh.

Speaking of fresh, Sofía Vergara’s portrayal of Carl’s ex-wife, Inez, is something new and exciting to see. Up until this point, I didn’t know if Vergara was capable of playing anything other than the comic, charming, Gloria from Modern Family. I am happy to say, she most definitely can. Although she does not have a large amount of screen time, when she is on screen, she commands attention (and not just for being beautiful). The same goes for the incomparable Robert Downey Jr. RDJ is as charming as ever, but I’m afraid he brought a bit too much Tony Stark into this character. Even so, the one scene he is in made me laugh out loud. As far as Favreau as an actor, he isn’t bad. I never found myself distracted by poor acting. That being said, his strengths are far greater in writing, and even more so, directing. The actor I find myself most impressed with, however, is Emjay Anthony. For an 11 year old, he knows how to take command of a scene. He plays Percy in a realistic and honest way, never contrived.

I know I have raved quite a bit about the film, but I do have a few qualms. First, the meltdown. When Carl loses his mind in the restaurant, he says a whole lotta nothing. I did appreciate the fact that he calls out the critic for only knowing how to criticize, but it is clear that most of the rant is adlibbed. That is a pivotal moment where the writing needed to clearly state how Carl truly felt. I also don’t believe for a second that after a terrible review, and knowing the same critic is coming in again, that the owner would allow him to be served the same meal. That just makes no sense. Lastly, Carl’s best friend decides to up and quit his job after just being promoted to sous chef. He immediately flies to Miami to surprise Carl. The moment he arrives is so anticlimactic. He just gave up a huge opportunity at a well-respected restaurant, and nothing is really made of the moment. Sure, this could also just be my female perspective talking. Maybe “bros” just have more of an unsaid understanding.

I cannot recommend Chef highly enough. I drove four hours round trip to see this film, so if you only have to drive 30 min, you have no excuse! Go see it. It is a light-hearted story that is rare to find these days in an industry of The Dark Knight and True Detective. Of course, those are impressive works. However, if you’re tired of the cynicism, Chef is the perfect film to see to start the summer movie season off right.

Source
Source


Opened (limited) in the US:

May 9, 2014

Rated R

Run Time 1:55

Favorite Food

What food calls to you like no other?

See results

After you see the film, take the quiz!

view quiz statistics

Filming Locations

A
Austin, Texas:
Austin, TX, USA

get directions

B
New Orleans, Louisiana:
New Orleans, LA, USA

get directions

C
Miami, Florida:
Miami, FL, USA

get directions

D
Los Angeles, California:
Los Angeles, CA, USA

get directions

E
Rose Ave, Venice, California:
Rose Avenue, Venice, CA, USA

get directions

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)