Despite some off-color language (apparently the reason for the film's R rating, when in fact a PG-13 rating would have been perfectly appropriate), Chef is a gentle story about father-son bonding, and following your dreams.
Chef was written and directed by its star, Jon Favreau, and features cameos by Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey, Jr., and Oliver Platt.
Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) rebels against the status quo at the restaurant where he has been head chef for ten years, tangles with a food blogger who criticizes the menu, and finds himself out of a job.
Carl's ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) wants him to spend more time with their son (Emjay Anthony), so she helps Carl get a food truck, and father and son take off with Carl's former sous-chef (John Leguizamo), cooking their way across the United States.
Chef was filmed in and around Los Angeles, and on location in Austin, Texas, Miami, Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Lilly Faye: I've asked my friend and neighbor, Mr. Frank, to help me and my blog intern, Dizzie, with our movie review this week. Frank is a gourmet chef who plans to open his own restaurant one day, so I hope he will share his special insight with us.
Mr. Frank: I thought she was asking me out on a date. I didn't realize she wanted me to work.
Dizzie: She won't pay you for it, either. I've been working for her almost a year, and I still haven't been paid.
Lilly Faye: Getting down to business, I liked Chef's feel-good vibe, and I loved that it was actually filmed on the road. But, I have a confession to make. I wasn't as blown away by the food as I expected to be. It just didn't make my mouth water. What did you boys think?
Mr. Frank: The realities of a restaurant kitchen can be too much for a civilian to deal with. Sensitive souls like you, Doll Face, are better off staying in the dining room.
I do think more flattering lighting might have made the food look better, but restaurant kitchens don't generally have flattering lighting. The movie was pretty accurate in that regard.
Dizzie: I'll eat anything, whether it's edible or not, so it all looked good to me.
Lilly Faye: It's true. Dizzie has been known to eat small tree branches.
Dizzie: They're an excellent source of fiber!
Lilly Faye: I liked the way Carl's friends and family supported him. Even his ex-wife had only his best interest at heart.
Dizzie: Boring! This is yet another film with a noticeable lack of tension. I kept waiting for someone to chop a finger off, or something.
Mr. Frank: That's nothing to joke about, Dizzie. Restaurant kitchens are dangerous places. The threat of serious bodily injury is always present.
Dizzie: Yeah, except not in this movie. That's my point!
Lilly Faye: Boys, let's not argue.
My favorite parts of the movie were the location shots in Austin and New Orleans. I wish they could have been longer.
Mr. Frank: Then it would have been a travel movie instead of a cooking movie.
Dizzie: I get to travel quite a bit, myself, so I don't have to settle for just watching it on the screen.
Lilly Faye: I knew it. You're just dying to tell everyone that you've been to visit Willow again, aren't you? I wondered how long it would take you to bring that up.
Dizzie: At least there's no confusion between me and Willow. We both know we're dating, unlike some others I could name.
Lilly Faye: Time to rate the movie!
Lilly Faye's Movie Rating: In a split decision...
Lilly Faye: Two Paws Up! (with reservations)
Mr. Frank: An enthusiastic Two Paws Up!
Dizzie: One Paw Up!