Cooking with Clay: Castelnaudary, France
The Interview That Sort of Never Was But Still May Be

Movie Review: Chef

Saw "CHEF" over the weekend with my two kids One loved it, the other hated it but on reflection hated the audience more than the movie. I agree somewhat. The lady next to me had plenty of rose perfume on, had a glass of wine and liked to talk to her friends during the movie ("Oh, look! It's Robert Downey!") She gets a solid A for recognizing all the celebrity cameos. 

I like to joke that I haven't been to a movie theater to see a current film since 'Yentl' and this month I've been to two! (This one and 'Fed Up')

The Very Good: For me, it was spooky at times. Here is a middle aged man who is dealing with weight gain, an obsession with food and dealing with how to be the best father he can be with a demanding career. He loves Latin music, food and often wears a guayabera shirt. I feel so outside the mainstream normally and this film was pretty much for me. 
The food always looked good and authentic. The front of the house and back of the house back and forth felt real and his relationship with his son was really well done, for the most part. 

The music was mostly Latin Boogaloo with some salsa and New Orleans funk thrown in, all tied into the story. I would have bought the soundtrack except I had most of it already. This version of Sexual Healing is great. 

SPOILER ALERT! Only read the following if you've seen the movie. 

The Not so good: How come someone who looks like Jon Favreau has the two hottest actresses in Hollywood playing his love interests. Scarlett Johansson and Sofía Vergara ar both great but it's a stretch. One on a fluke, maybe, but those two? No way. 

Why were permits an issue in Miami and nowhere else? Could a truck pull into the French Quarter in New Orleans and set up shop? I don't think so. 

After the trip with his son, there is no way he would have had that talk with him and it wouldn't have taken a Vine video to make him realize he can do better with than without him. It felt very phony to me and simply a set up for drama, which was disappointing after a mostly realistic movie that still managed to be "feel good". And the nice pretty bow at the end with the blogger reviewer was so unneeded. Why couldn't he have found happiness on his truck? Why did the reviewer give him carte blanche to do what he wanted with his own restaurant and he ends up still making Cuban sandwiches and pedestrian Latin food? The whole point was supposed to be for him to show of his reported brilliance from 10 years earlier in a restaurant? It was all clearly a way to wrap it all up but it took it from a great movie to a nice movie. 

If you love food, it's worth it. But be prepared for a let down of an ending.

Comments

elgarito

Absolutely spot on review. Agree with all your pros and cons... and mostly liked it too. My review to friends was: it's a nice, well crafted fantasy.

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