Directed By: Jon Favreau
Written By: Jon Favreau
Starring: Jon Favreau and others
Release Date: May 30th, 2014
Run Time: 1 Hour 54 Minutes
Link to IMDb
This is an incredibly odd movie for me.
Chef was one of the first movies I watched with my friends when I was first integrated into their group. It had been a running joke for a little while, so we decided to actually watch it and see if it was as funny as we thought it was. Yet, despite it being significantly less fun than we thought it’d be, it only became more of a meme after we watched it!
To a ridiculous degree, I might add. We bought every copy from our local Wal-Mart (all six of them) and distributed them among us. We’d carry one in the car and make a nuisance of ourselves as we tried to sell it to other cars while stuck at an intersection. It got so bad that we went to Comic Con with a copy and went up and down the escalator over and over, repeating the same monologue over and over to the people on the other side.
We did that for roughly an hour, by the way. It stopped being funny about five minutes in. But we kept going. I will never understand why.
If we loved it that much, than surely the movie is really good and funny, right? Well… no. Not really. It’s an okay movie, but there’s a ton of stuff that pushes it dangerously close to being bad.
The story is incredibly simple. Jon Favreau’s character is a professional chef, working in a successful restaurant, and he’s struggling to connect with his son and divorced wife. His life is miserable, joyless, and his career is starting to fall apart. One day, after snapping at a critic, he loses his job, picks up a food truck and starts anew with his best friend and son. As they journey across the country, they build a reputation and reconstruct their relationships with each other.
With how basic it is, it feels like fucking it up shouldn’t be possible. Yet somehow, they still manage to find a way to make it kind of… suck. There are tons of scenes that are entirely pointless, adding nothing to the story or characters. These are the funniest scenes, yes, but they do nothing but waste both your and the film’s time.
The ending is also really bad. It’s completely rushed, unsatisfying and kind of goofy. No, not a good kind of goofy, as you’d expect from a comedy. It’s a genuinely terrible ending, leaving you off with no proper conclusion.
All in all? It’s an incredibly mediocre story. Aside from the pointless scenes that don’t matter, most of the plot is forgettable. It’s not terrible, nothing in the movie made me want to blow my brains out, but it’s just… nothing! There’s nothing here to help it stand out and nothing to make it worth the time.
Unless you really want to see Jon Favreau sprinkle flour on his nuts. If so… I won’t judge you.
Boring. So boring. How can I possibly describe how boring it is?
The cinematography is incredibly flat! There is no creativity in the camera angles, distance or shot composition. All we get is a whole bunch of shot-reverse-shot. There’s no creative use of lighting or color to give the movie a unique style. The whole thing is generic and completely uninteresting to look at.
There are few visual effects to speak off, and the few there are aren’t very great. This movie is filled with the tried, true and annoying ‘social media bubbles in the air’ effects, especially towards the beginning. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting really sick of those.
One thing I can compliment, however, is the music. The soundtrack is oddly fantastic! It’s a lot of fun to listen to, even out of context, though it’s nothing I’d listen to in my free time. It’s a jam.
Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near enough to save the rest of the movie.
Script and Acting
The script is… lackluster at best. For a comedy, there isn’t a whole lot of dialogue that’s actually, y’know, funny. It’s not bad dialogue, as it does sound natural when said aloud, but it’s only serviceable at best.
To be fair, the actors are doing a fantastic job with the material. Their performances can’t be called exceptional, as the script doesn’t really allow that. Still, it’s clear that they took it seriously and gave it their all. Plus, the casting is solid.
It’s just a shame that none of the characters stand out as much as the actors who portray them.
I have no idea how this movie became such a prominent joke in my circle of friends. At best, it’s a mediocre and unfunny comedy. At worst, it was a horribly unoriginal and dull movie that only serves as good sleep aide. It’s not a particularly fun watch, nor is it a terribly awful one. It’s just… serviceable.
Do I recommend this movie? No. Not at all. You won’t want to kill yourself for watching it, but you will gain absolutely nothing by doing so. If you chose to watch literally anything else, then you’ll likely get more out of it.
Simply put: go watch something with a little more depth. Like Power Rangers. Or Yu-Gi-Oh. Or porn.