Movies About Cooking | The Good Family Movie ‘Chef’ | Review

Good Family Movie About Cooking - Chef (2014)

Chef (2014) is a good movie. At times it is a great movie. However, it has two significant flaws which prevent it from being a great movie. This said, the movie is overall a good one, with some lapses of quality.

The movie starts at a good note. Chef of a chic restaurant is expecting the city’s most important food critic. Then the movie takes a darker turn, as the boss’ guidance seems to steer chef in the wrong direction. This said, chef – the main character of the movie – seems able to deal with it. But it turns out that he is not able to deal with it at all. He “loses shit” as the movie’s newspapers put it.

Through that experience of failing, the movie manages to draw in a viewer, who may have faced a similar experience of being put down by someone powerful. In this movie, this is both a food critic and a restaurant owner, both of whom manage to bring down the protagonist both emotionally and professionally. But they are not enjoying putting him down. They are simply doing what’s best in their own interests. This is where Chef transcends its realm of culinary world.

Chef manages to transcend somewhat narrow world of culinary art by bringing out experiences familiar to all of us, old or young, male or female. This is where Chef’s charm seduces you. It allows you to sympathize with the character who has nothing but his job. His family – mother and son – are somewhat estranged from him, until he draws them in into his culinary world. This is when the movie gets real good.

Overall, Chef is a pretty good family movie. But it could have been even better. Jon Favreau who has both written and directed this movie about cooking – not to mention starred in it – has been somewhat overindulgent in keeping too much footage. Part of this footage could have been cut without too much damage to movie’s quality.

Indeed, the movie would have been much better if its length was an hour and forty five minutes, instead of an hour and fifty five minutes. While this observation may sound pedantic, ten minutes of extra length do make a huge difference when one is watching a movie, especially if that movie belongs to a category of movies about cooking. This becomes especially clear when one considers the part of the movie that could have been cut.

The part of the movie that could have been cut down is the one about Twitter. Twitter is made something of a marketing juggernaut. Having a huge following there seems to do miracles for its main character. This is not necessarily true in the real world. Moreover, the magic quality of Twitter seems to be exaggerated. It seems to be exaggerated to the point of being a product placement. This is of course not true, but the movie makes you question that. If you are wondering how we know that, here is the answer: we have watched the movie with Jon Favreau’s commentary, where he said that Twitter has not paid. Also, as far as Twitter as concerned, the movie’s moment where Twitter helps attract a huge crowd has been inspired by something that really happened, so we give kudos to Jon Favreau for using the real-world events of interesting nature.

Overall, Chef is a good family movie about cooking and the place it can take in chef’s life, even though it is R-rated (thanks to its wonderfully charming profanity). But cutting those extraneous ten minutes could have turned it into a really good one, and maybe even a great one. But Jon Favreau should be given credit all the same: the movie is an artistic achievement with strong backbone.

Note About Chef’s Rating: it is more of a PG movie than R-rated one. The censors have been too strict on its use of profanity. We think it is perfectly acceptable for both kids and adults. We all know how much profanity there is on the Internet, not to mention more sinister things. So if you are looking for a good family comedy, Chef may be the movie you’ve been looking for. Both you and your kids would enjoy it, on all levels.

Related Chef Links:
a) Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
b) IMDB Reviews
c) New York Times Review by Stephen Holden
d) Review by Susan Wloszczyna
Note: We don’t necessarily agree with these reviews, but they would give you a better understanding of this movie. So will the trailer.

Before watching Chef’s trailer, consider the 2 most highly rated comments from YouTube – they make sense:

1. i think i saw the whole movie in this trailer. now its not even worth watching anymore…

2. Watching this at 2am wasn’t the best idea after all… Feeling hungry now..

Roman Marshanski
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