Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park.
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
A day-dreamer escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.
Carl Casper is an acclaimed chef with a family life that seems as decaying as his artistic freedom. Those frustrations boil over into a raucous viral-videoed public confrontation against a restaurant critic who panned his cooking of food that his boss ordered him to make against his instincts. Now with his career ruined, Carl's ex-wife offers an unorthodox solution in Miami: refit an old food truck to offer quality cooking on his own terms. Now with his young son, Percy, and old colleague, Tony, helping, Carl takes a working trip across America with that truck to rediscover his gastronomic passion. With Percy's tech savvy and Tony's enthusiasm, Carl finds that he is creating a traveling sensation on the way home. In doing so, Carl discovers he is serving up more than simply food, but also a deeper connection with his life and his family that is truly delicious in its own way. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The video Percy was watching on his Ipad was of FreddieW's Medal of Honor Cat. This is a tribute to Jon Favreau and RocketJump studio's previous partnership during the filming of Cowboys and Aliens. See more »
When Inez is talking with her father in the restaurant, the position of her hands changes between shots. In the reverse shot, she has her hands spread over the table, before cutting to her with her arms folded. See more »
I may not do everything great in my life, but I'm good at this. I manage to touch people's lives with what I do and I want to share this with you.
[trailer abridged version]
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"Chef" is a Hollywood version of a chef suffering the indignities of cooking what an owner, not the chef, wants him to cook. In a time of high unemployment, whether the government wants to admit the real numbers or not, the idea of a man quitting a chef's position over a menu without having a back up plan lacks credulity. And that is not the only thing the film lacks.
The major plot point in act one that propels the action is not realistic. So many other solutions to the chef's conflict would have been more realistic and at least as entertaining as what transpires in the movie. The chef is unlikable, and director and producer Jon Favreau lays to bare his lack of acting ability in the film. I don't mind unlikable characters, but they have to be interesting. Moreover, it helps if we understand his motivations. Just saying "I love cooking" over and over is not enough.
It's one thing for a character to say they love something, like cooking, but what an audience needs to do is see why a character loves what they do. We get little back-story to the chef's development, and thus, we just don't care. Well, some over the shooting of his father, whom he clearly loves. His face tightens, his arms clinch, his brow lowers. We see no such emotional reaction to the chef's love of cooking. Sure, we see chef-like cutting and food presentation, but that's all.
As my mother pointed out, the chef claims that he yearns to be creative and ends up making well something all kids, parents and college students have mastered. Really? That's his breakthrough?
Favreau has directed many of the other actors in the a-list cast including Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson. Downey does the best with the material he is given, but is not enough to make up for the Swiss cheese plot. The other actors are okay, but the real standout is actor Emjay Anthony as the son of Favreau and Sofia Vergara. She is once again playing the wife of another, far less conventionally attractive, white guy. Is this Latina type casting? At least I could imagine Vergara with Downey who is at times charming.
The upside of the film is that it didn't pull out any last minute disaster: heart attack, car wreck, pregnancy as a plot point. However, not utilizing an out of place plot point does not a good film make.
Rating: Rent it if you like food movies. Otherwise, watch Tampopo, Babette's Feast, Delicatessen or other, better food movies that have more heart and craft on their menu.
Bonus: The music from the film is excellent.
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