Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Chef-One Fine Cuisine
In many ways, I was reminded of an earlier film I reviewed here, Birdman, while watching this, the film's view on critics, the lead being considered "past his prime" and trying to prove his worth, while trying to remain relevant (this film never flat out mentions relevancy, but it does seem to want to at times), yet I found myself more satisfied with this film. Jon Favreau, directed, wrote, and starred in this film, making it his most personal film in quite some time, as well as a nice change of pace for someone who previously was busy at Marvel Studios. Seeing how Jon, went from doing films for a big studio, to doing this independent film, creates a bit of a real world parallel for the film, whether or not that was intentional is beyond me, but it does feel interesting to think about, could the way one studio treated him, have influenced Dustin Hoffman's Riva character? Regardless I still feel good seeing a film like Chef.
There's a very simple feel all throughout the film, the story never tries going heavy with the drama, or the comedy, yet it still feels satisfying, perhaps because it just feels more real that way. Real life, is made up of simple moments and reactions, many drama films ruin the reality of situations by having the actors give over-dramatic reactions that tend to feel out of place, here we find real people, reacting to their situations in ways that feel natural, it is only very rarely that we get loud reactions, which made those moments feel more real and deserved when they would happen. Simplicity can have it's downsides though, towards the film's end, during a lengthy road trip sequence, the film slowly winds down, partially because it almost feels like the plot disappears completely, only to start up again within the last few minutes. To the film's fairness, the "plotless" scenes are entertaining, they just began to drag down everything else, maybe if it were trimmed a bit it could've worked more effectively.
Jon Favreau gives a great performance as Chef Casper, you can definitely feel how much his character cares about his craft, as well as the people around him. Carl's ex, Inez, is played by Sofia Vergara, proving the actress has talent, she just isn't given many roles to prove it, which is unfortunate. Emjay Anthony, plays Carl's son Percy, he works out fine in the role, perhaps a bit too quiet, but that seems to be the intention for the role. John Lequizamo is best friend/co-worker Martin, reminding me, and perhaps others, how good he can be when he's not off being a cartoon sloth, while the rest of the ensemble work for the most part. The weak link for the cast would perhaps be Scarlett Johansson , I say perhaps because her performance is fine, the character just feels useless, but the part is small so it's not a major weakness, but it does feel worth mentioning despite that.
Jon, succeeds at reminding audiences of the kind of work he'd do before getting involved with the blockbuster scene, while not perfect, it's definitely worth your time. Chef, is a fun film, one that I hope to watch again soon, especially if a nice meal is ready for me.
Written By Octaviano Macias