If you’re looking for something fresh, not at all heavy entertainment, you should watch the movie “Chef”. I’d guarantee you won’t feel the whole 1.5-2 hours gone by. It’s just so light that you’d just have to sit back and relax, enjoy the plot without much thinking. It’s a very easy movie to watch but definitely not an easy script to write. If I’d have to sum up in a few words…
Chef is a modern art in its easily smooth yet captivating story.
There aren’t many movies that are so current today. Featuring trending culinary theme, the movie highlights the journey of an experienced chef, Carl Casper (played by Jon Favreu, the writer and director), in figuring out what makes him happy. He began to venture on creating new menus for his restaurant after a famous food critic and blogger, Ramsey Michel (played by Oliver Platt), who used to be Carl’s big fan, insulted his unchanging, uncreative menu on his Twitter account. His mocking, doubting Carl’s skill, was RT-ed by his followers, thus the negative marketing magnified till Carl himself heard of it.
Out of anger, Carl, being new to social media and stuff, decided to create an account and reply to Ramsey’s post—not knowing what he thought to be a private reply was actually a publicised Tweet. He challenged Ramsey’s unwelcoming critics by inviting him over to his restaurant the evening after.
Despite strong opposition from his boss, Riva (played by Dustin Hoffman), who’s also the restaurant’s owner, Carl experimented in his kitchen and came up with a completely new menu. Before Carl had even the chance to brief his sous chef about the change in menu, he got into argument with Riva, who ended up threatening to fire him had he insisted on cooking his new menu.
Disliking his situation, Carl walked out. His sous chef was appointed to be the head chef to replace him. Taking his time creating new dishes at his home kitchen, Carl noticed Ramsey’s insulting Tweet, having been served with the same old menu, not knowing that Carl wasn’t there. Ramsey made insulting remarks that fueled Carl’s anger. Carl decided to confront Ramsey at the restaurant. Carl’s furious act, shouting his anger off Ramsey, was recorded and uploaded onto YouTube by a number of guests. There you go, Carl became infamous that no restaurants would take him in. The only offer he got is to host Hell’s Kitchen, which Carl offensively refused.
In between these first few scenes, the movie also highlighted Carl’s awkward relationship with his longing-to-be-with-daddy son, Percy, from his ex-wife, Inez (played by Sofia Vergara). This is the serious stuff which is going to be constant highlights throughout the movie. The clever stuff, however, besides portrayal of Twitter effects throughout the whole story, was the inclusion of sexually appealing, kind hearted waitresses named Molly (played by ScarJo), who got turned on watching Carl cooking. But, don’t worry. There’s not a single sexual content in the movie. It’s completely PG.
Anyway, so Carl quitted and had got nothing to do. Twitter effect had ruined his reputation badly that no restaurants would take him in. The only offer he got, thanks to his somewhat creative lady publicist, was Hell’s Kitchen—unlikely something Carl would take. Carl was desperate and shared his frustration with his mistress, Molly, who advised him to take some time off from thinking about getting a job and spend quality time with his son.
And so… Carl was back at the doorstep of his ex-wife only to find that Inez invited him to come to Miami, on her business trip, to help babysit Percy. He agreed. Little did he know, Inez had a secret plan that would get him back rolling and excited with his life.
In Miami, in between Inez’ business meetings, they—the father, mother and son—had fun spending some quality time together. At dinner, Carl had the most delicious street food he’d ever had in his life, a gourmet Cuban sandwich. He looked at Inez and decided he may consider the food truck idea and agree to meet up with Inez’ second ex-hubby (after Carl), who had expressed an intention to sponsor the food truck. (Inez had been, in the past, persuading Carl to run a food truck across LA so that he could cook what he likes.) Carl realised about Inez’ plan and realised that she knew him so well. He’s happy with it.
The scene when Carl met up with Inez’ ex-husband No. 2, Marvin (played by Robert Downey, Jr.), was another yet funky and creative scene. Being a unique individual, Marvin made himself, his staff and his guests (Carl) put on shoe caps to walk on his bare and slippery office floor for the stupid reason of not having ordered the carpet. When Marvin’s gorgeous, model-looking secretary stood up and walked out of her front counter to usher Carl to Marvin’s office, you’d see a cunning view of high-heeled, capped shoes on which she almost slipped. LOL. And you’d see Carl looking foolish from slipping all throughout the hallway. More LOL.
More LOL when you get to see this Marvin guy, who was rather flamboyant and being mischievously playful, asking Carl to decide which carpet he should order and continuing on a somewhat “light” info that his secretary was carrying a baby she claimed to be his and he didn’t know what to do despite knowing she had lied. “Why don’t you let her go?” Carl asked. And Marvin couldn’t find anyone better than her, that’s why.
To cut the story short, Marvin made arrangement for Carl to pick up his truck. From this point onward, you’d see some great bonding moments between Carl and his son, Percy, as they cleaned the truck, shopped for equipment and cooked food together. The rest of the story flowed as adventure of both father and son on road trip across America, to bring the truck from Miami to LA while selling good foods and making money along the way. Joined by Martin, who used to be a cook under Carl’s leadership at the restaurant, they had what probably be the greatest, most uplifting experience of their life.
Again, here the movie featured smart use of Twitter to promote the food truck’s whereabouts, their activities and where they were up to next. There were other hilarious scenes throughout. Watch out for the corky Indian police guy, people!
The story ended with not only success of the food truck, but also with great father-son re-bonding; making amends between two past enemies—Carl and Ramsey—by Ramsey’s visit to his food truck saying he’s been following Carl’s whereabouts and enjoying his sumptuous pedestrian food; Ramsey sponsoring his own restaurant where Carl could cook whatever he likes; and last but not least, of course, Carl reuniting with Inez.
Yes, it all ended well. Initially, somehow I was skeptic about the movie, thinking that it was all but a parade of famous people. I thought Robert Downey, Jr., ScarJo, they didn’t necessarily need to be there. Dustin Hoffman’s character could clearly be replaced by someone else less popular. Sofia Vergara may not need to be Sofia Vergara. But then, on a second thought, it was indeed fun to see her different side, her softer, less loud, less obnoxious self. It was interesting to see Mr. Iron Man played such a kinky character, though seeing ScarJo portraying sensuality was somewhat a norm.
All in all, if you’re looking to be entertained with sporadic moments of LOLs, this could be the movie to watch.