Food and Family (Chef, 2014)

chef-posterJon Favreau’s directorial career has managed a fair number of big budget hits.  He set the tome for the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the first two Iron Man films, and earlier this year wowed viewers with the Jungle Book.  After the failure of Cowboy’s and Aliens, Favreau directed a string of episodes of high concept TV shows before returning to the screen with Chef.

Favreau plays Carl Casper.  Carl is a gifted Chef who was a rising star.  But he finds himself feeling trapped, unable to truly work his creative juices.  His boss does not share his culinary aspirations.  He wants Carl to stick the script they have had for years.

Karl is struggling personally, trying to be a dedicated father, who is also not really over his Ex-Wife.  They have a friendly relationship, and she is actually very supportive of him.  But she also wants him so be better at being in their son’s life.

When they find out that a renowned food critic is coming to town Carl and his boss have an argument over what to serve…and the meal Carl is forced to make is panned by the critic.  Carl has a meltdown that goes viral.  Karl’s son introduces him to Twitter…which turns out to be a bad idea in that time.  Carl lacks the emotional strength to not lash out at every insult.

Karl finds himself so humbled that he finally caves in to the suggestion of his wife to buy a food cart from her ex-husband (the guy who came after Carl).  What follows is an emotional journey for Carl and his son. With the help of his chef friend Martin, they revamp the food truck and travel back home serving Cuban sandwiches.  Carl shares his favorite foods along the way with his son as they bond.

Chef is a delightful film that touches the heart (and stomach, I was totally hungry by the end of the film).  Favreau’s both frustrating and yet likeable.  You want him to figure it all out, to get out of his rut.  To reconnect with his son.  Repair the damage done to his relationships.  Emjay Anthony is terrific as son Percy.  He and Favreau connect wonderfully.  This is a really terrific little film, I genuinely loved and recommend Chef.

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