Jon Favreau trades in Iron Man for Iron Chef. The auteur stars, directs, produces, and writes his latest film, which is simply about a chef’s hectic life.
In Chef, a passionate man named Carl Casper is caught between following his own creative impulses and a restaurant owner's rules. He eventually decides to flee and open up a food truck eatery that serves people from Miami to California. The true desire to create his own dishes, be his own boss, and do it with the people who matter is ultimately the winning recipe.
The movie does a good job with the different scenarios Casper undergoes throughout the film's 115 minutes. There’s time spent on his job (and hating it), a frustrating subsequent job search, and finally on developing his food-truck idea. An equal amount of time is spent on each of these phases, and supporting and peripheral characters are given ample screen time and development. His wife, son, friends, boss, ex-wife’s ex-husband, critics, and food truck fanatics — a stellar cast, including John Leguizamo, Robert Downey, Jr., Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris, Dustin Hoffman and Sofia Vergara — all play toward delivering a good overall understanding of what the film is essentially about: cuisine and company.
The scenes between Casper and his son (played by Emjay Anthony) on the journey, many of which involve Casper showing him the trades of the culinary arts, capture particularly great moments in their relationship. The well-drawn characters and often amusing dialogue made up some of the film's most enjoyable aspects. You don’t have to know about the food business to enjoy the movie; the exposition sets everything up really well to make the story flow nicely to its pleasant conclusion. It’s definitely worth the watch.