Chef

Starring: Jon Faverau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr, Amy Sedaris, Russell Peters.

Directed By Jon Faverau

The words “feel good movie of the summer” get thrown around a lot. If you google that phrase, you’ll see it referring to Begin Again, Million Dollar Arm, and also Chef. So, I’m not alone, but it does get used a lot. I hate using cliches, but Chef isn’t a downer. It doesn’t have any real sad moments, or angry moments. It’s a pretty happy film from start to finish. And unlike other Hallmark moments this year (*cough*HeavenIsForReal*cough*), it’s actually a damn good movie.

Jon Faverau plays Carl Casper, a famous chef running a restaurant in Venice Beach. His restaurant gets word that a critic is coming, and he wants to plan a big new menu for the critic. The owner (Hoffman) talks him out of it, and the same-old-stuff doesn’t fly with the critic. Faverau goes through several stages of grief, before finally reinventing himself as the chef of his own food truck. No more bosses to listen to.

The film is ALSO about a dad who works too much, and doesn’t spend enough time with his son. He has an amicable relationship with his ex-wife, who is OK with him wanting to spend time with his son anytime he wants, he just doesn’t. And when they do, they sit in a movie, while the son would much rather have a conversation or learn how to cook. Over the course of the movie, this father son duo bonds, and Jon Faverau’s heart grew three sizes that day.

Jon Faverau rarely gets to step up to the plate as a leading man, but after directing two Iron Man movies, I guess he was allowed to call the shots on Chef. And he wrote, directed, and starred in this, which can sometimes be a recipe for disaster. However, this film spent just the right amount of time in the oven, and came out delicious. Sorry. I’ll stop with the food puns now.

The truth is I absolutely adored Chef. I loved Faverau. I loved the dynamic he had with the kid playing his son. The supporting cast was strong. The film was paced just perfectly, and backed by a fantastic soundtrack. And the food looked delicious. I’ve seen a lot of really great films this summer, and Chef is near the top of the list.

If Chef is still playing in theatres near you, and you haven’t seen it yet, rush out and see it before its too late.

FINAL GRADE: A

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