Plot: A once exciting trailblazer chef (Jon Favreau) is getting dragged down into mediocrity by a semi-trendy restaurant owner (Dustin Hoffman) in L.A. who only cared for the bottomline. It later becomes very real as one dick food blogger (Oliver Platt) ventured into Chef Casper’s restaurant only to be disappointed and write vile commentaries about the insufferable and unoriginal menu or so he described.
Jon Favreau’s time with Roy Choi and various chefs whom he consulted with paid off in this portrait of a chef living in today’s complex world. When every actor we know undergoes physical transformation for their roles – think Christian Bale in Machinist, Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club and Wolverine‘s Hugh Jackman – in here we are presented with Jon Favreau who did all that kitchen prep montage at the beginning. He’s into it. He’s very invested in Chef Casper and he really studied him. I savored it.
Cut to the food blogger who criticized the menu. Honest but too in-your-face. The tone does slash more than the comment, which actually is the whole point and which actually why the food critic have a huge following in the first place. Nothing new there, but it encapsulates the paradigm of today’s mode of communication, everyone now wields a very powerful double-edged sword, a very sorry not sorry social media attitude.
The heart of the film though lies to the father and son bond which progressed from semi-regular visits to a more unique relationship the only two of them have. Respect for the man when he taught his son about his love for food and the quality control that comes with it. I loved that the most. I feel my beliefs were represented albeit in a very general way, I feel it’s a tangent that touched my world.
“I get to touch people’s life with what I do. And it keeps me going and I love it. And I think if you give it a shot, you might love it too.”
– Chef Carl Casper
Runtime: 1hr 54min (IMDb)
Cast: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr.