Going Fairytale, The Good Way

Chef (2014)
A Review By Ben Hunter
4½ Out Of 5 Stars

GET TO THE POINT BEN!

Going “fairytale” can be a good thing!

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To do what you love and create the art to inspire good in others, that’s what it’s all about.  Chef Carl Casper (writer/director Jon Favreau) works in an astute kitchen at an elite restaurant, Gauloise, in Los Angeles.  He’s greatly respected by his team of fellow cooks (John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale) and is loved by the front of the house staff such as the hostess Molly (Scarlett Johansson) who all follow his lead without hesitation.  It’s his recipes that attract customers.

When an established food critic, Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), is going to write an esteemed review for Gauloise, everyone becomes overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness to get a good review.  This sparks a difference in opinion of what the menu should be between Carl and restaurant owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) for the big review day.  So much so that Carl walks out and quits.  He tells his cook squad to stay and that he’ll find his own way.  To love and create the art he truly feels he should to inspire the good in others.  In the way he knows is true to his heart. 

Favreau stated in some interviews that when real life chefs heard the menu announcement that Casper decided to go with; they all cringed in disapproval.  “Safe bets” was the resound response.  So they could understand why Carl walked out.  As Favreau continued, he mentioned that as an artist, you’re putting your heart out there on the line in hopes that it doesn’t get broken.  This is why Carl gets emotional in the story.  Also probably why for the duration of it, he’s trying to piece back together his family with his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara). 

I felt really connected to the goodness in Carl’s heart.  He’s a really good guy that is a true artist at heart who just wants to create and inspire goodness in others.  The entire time I was in full support when he decides to open up the food truck after his career in the restaurant business.  Even though the conflict of the story is pretty much over at the midpoint and it’s all up hill from there, I still wanted to continue to watch.  To see how things would piece back together with his ex-wife, which I might add was kind of a pleasant oddity to experience Sofia Vergara in a different, non-annoying vocal, light of character due to my binges with “Modern Family”.  I loved how things came together in the end with all the characters and loose ends.  To see the different cultures of each city Casper and crew arrived in with the food truck.  To see the fruition of all the real life relationships being portrayed on screen, such as the scene with Robert Downey Jr. & Jon Favreau, good friends in good vibes on the camera to present goodness in my experience with this story. 

Chef is a perfect example that as a storyteller, you can go “fairytale” (where everything is a little too perfect and “happily ever after”) and still pull it off.  Favreau stated that he’d rather loose the shaved off points on Rotten Tomatoes from critics because of going fairytale and gain the happiness and smiles from the general public that experience the story because of it.  Well worth it in my opinion. 

Just be sure to see the film on a full stomach! 

Chef
Comedy, 114 Minutes, R
Written & Directed by: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Emjay Anthony, Oliver Platt, with Robert Downey Jr., & Dustin Hoffman

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