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Friday, January 2, 2015

Chef (2014)

This movie is definitely a foodie movie, as you would expect from the title.  Do not watch it if you are fasting or in any way hungry!

Jon Favreau is the writer, director, and lead in this film about a chef who showed great promise young but got paradoxically stuck as the head chef in a very good but unimaginative restaurant that keeps him so busy that he lost his marriage and hasn't enough time for his son.

The turning point comes when a well known critic for the LA Times (played officiously well by Oliver Platt) is coming  to dine and the restaurant owner (played small and miserly by Dustin Hoffman) forces him to cook old stand by's rather than bold new food.  He gets a mediocre and somewhat childish review that enrages him to the point where he gets his 10 year old son to help him create a Twitter account for him so that he can follow all the meanness that people are throwing at him.  In a classic move for someone social media naive he flames the critic on Twitter, and gains a bit of fame himself.  Which at first is quite bad, because he not only riled the critic up, he then confronts him in a video that gets up on YouTube.  He is fired from his job and starts spiraling downward.

His ex-wife comes to the rescue (she is a gem of an ex), paying for him to go to Miami with her and their son, back to where his career started.  He is gifted a food truck by his ex' ex (ably played by Robert Downey, Jr), fixes it up improbably fast, is joined by one of his line cooks, and off he goes cross country cooking out of the truck and gaining momentum in popularity--through Twitter--as he goes.  The food is sensational looking and his passion is contagious, but best of all, he reconnects with his son and his love of life.

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