When posters and trailers first began to surface for Chef I was a little puzzled as to just why there was a movie about this topic. I understand food and dinning out is a massive part of today’s culture however I didn’t think a film like this could really entertain viewers – I felt that this subject is best portrayed as part of a reality show set up. However as the weeks progressed I became accustomed to this premise, eventually I reached the stage where I accepted that I would most likely enjoy this movie but that it wouldn’t blow me away. For once I got it spot on.
Chef boasts an impressive cast (Iron Man 2 Reunion) that is easily the aspect of this film that enticed me most. The inclusion of such Hollywood actors as Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson should help to draw in the viewers even if they are underused slightly, Johansson especially. Sofia Vergara also features here, a word of warning though make sure that you don’t go into this movie expecting to see Gloria from Modern Family. As much as I wanted this I had to accept that she was playing a different character and although ultimately this is disappointing she still performs well but unfortunately just doesn’t play as good of a character. John Favreau does well in the lead role and eases into his performance nicely making it thoroughly believable throughout. There were moments of comedy from the characters which were great however there was scope for so much more of this which could have really elevated Chef to something much greater. I was also unconvinced by the storyline that saw Carl (Favreau) and Inez (Vergara) re-marry, there was little to suggest this development and although it was predictable I did feel that it was rushed through just to achieve that happy ending.
Anyway, one of the best things about this movie was the food! I am sure that any foodies will love what is on offer in Chef and so did I! There was some real tasty looking meals rustled up here and I had to make an exception on my usual lack of munchies at the cinema otherwise my stomach undoubtedly would have been protesting throughout. The food looked great and the way it was prepared was convincing and good to watch. Another element of this movie I was impressed with was its treatment of social networking sites. Often when films try to include these it can come across as a desperate plea to seem relevant and up to date, instead here Chef uses them perfectly. The use of Twitter especially was good, it was used as a tool to enhance the quality of this film and it never felt forced but instead combined well with the subject matter easily creating a believable story for 2014. Chef is pleasant viewing, it never induces boredom but apart from a couple of scenes it also never really makes you feel much. With some more humour injected and a little more time devoted to particular plot points Chef could have been a five star offering. So while it won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth I feel that in terms of the film menu for 2014 I doubt Chef would be top of many peoples choices.
BIGGEST FLAW – Chef really could have benefited from some more humour
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Treatment and use of social networking sites
Rating – 7.5/10