Like Sam Raimi with Drag Me to Hell, Chef represents a mega director (in this case Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau) returning to the flavour of his early work (in this case, Swingers and Made) to rejuvenate his storytelling juices. And like Drag Me to Hell, it serves as a hearty reminder of why the director has been so successful.
A heartfelt and endearing confection of a film, Chef‘s modest narrative ambitions are a welcome respite from the all-things to all-people nature of most films that come out of Hollywood around this time of year.
While there is some conflict present, nothing hugely dramatic happens in Chef. But the film’s dedication to its characters moves the story along nicely, and the food scenes alone make it worth seeing. Prepare to salivate.
All the big name co-stars are fun, but very few of them stick around for more than one or two scenes. Favreau (who unlike Raimi, also acts) ably carries the proceedings however.
I consider Made to be one of the most underrated American comedies of the past few decades, and it was a thrill to see that film’s unique comedic sensibility evoked in Chef. Even without that comparison, Chef very much deserves to join Big Night and Dinner Rush in the canon of great American food movies.
‘Chef’ Movie Times