Tuesday, April 26, 2016

[Movie] 'Chef' or Cook?

I first found out about this movie from Conan O'Brien talk show. It was written, directed, produced, and starred by Jon Favreau. It looks like some sort of vanity project. Well, in a way, it is a vanity project. But instead of being pompous, self-indulgent, and self-centered, like every other other vanity projects, this one turned out to be pretty good.

Despite being a small-budgeted film, the movie boasted some pretty big Hollywood names. Such as Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman, and others. For Jon Favreau though, well, he's famous too. For younger audience, you guys probably recognize him as Happy Hogan from the Iron Man film franchise. But to more mature cinema-goers like me, we usually saw him in comedy films.

And he was great, in those comedy films. This one included. This time in the film, he plays as a chef, who works in great restaurant, but he's not happy with his life. He felt like he can do so much more, and as a chef, he wanted to harness his creative side. Because that what chef do, right? Passion for food.

Otherwise he is no different than a cook in a fast food restaurant. But his boss, Riva (Dustin Hoffman), afraid of changes. Because the restaurant is doing great, everyone loves Carls Casper's (Jon Favreau) cooking, so what is there to be changed?

Well, a lot actually. Especially if the restaurant never keep up with the ever moving forward trend of the future. So nowadays, internet plays an important part of the modern society. Carls couldn't even get a proper conversation with his own son, who kept fiddling with electronic gadgets, and talking on and on about Facebook, and Twitter, and Blog, and.. whatever.

Carls thought all these hi-tech stuff won't affect him, as long as he keep to himself. Until a food critic came to the restaurant. And commented on his food. Carls is very proud of his food. Not because of blind arrogance and overconfident, but because of his passion for the food. He will never serve shitty food to his customers.

But the food critic/ blogger, Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), thinks otherwise. And apparently, his thought weigh more than Chef Carls Casper in the eye of the public. Carls wanted to show Ramsey his best works, but his boss won't let him, because he afraid that might affect negatively on his regular customers. They might not even like the new menu. And that's bad news.

Chef Carls finally had a meltdown, because all these criticism affecting his confidence and good name. His meltdown went viral throughout the globe as he confront Ramsey face to face and rebuke him in public, inside Riva's restaurant.

Perceived by the public as an arrogant and short-tempered chef, Carls quit his job and cried in the corner. Well, not really. But he did quit his job. He can't forced Riva to accept the changes that he wanted, because Riva have his own concerns, and the man have been nice to him all these years.

Devastated, he went to see his kid, Percy (Emjay Anthony), and ex-wife. Inez (Sofia Vergara), his ex-wife encouraged him to run a food truck. Even his lover, Molly (Scarlett Johansson), head waitress who worked with him, advised him to take a break. Do stuff that will make him happy. Really happy.

And thus, began Chef Carls Casper's journey to find back the things that made him happy. His ex-wife helped him to acquire a food truck, and together he traveled with his good friend, Martin (John Leguizamo), and his son, Percy. From Miami to Los Angeles.

The movie was great. It is light, entertaining, and heart-warming. It does however, have a slow build up. And the ending was, a little bit unrealistic. But I suppose that's how the story goes. It got a happy ending. For everyone. Including the critic.


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