Chef DVD Review: Favreau has gone back to basics, with delicious results.

With an all-star cast, Chef proves to yet again that Jon Favreau’s heart truly belongs to Indie flicks rather than the big action Superhero movies that he also tackles with flare. Like the character he plays in “Chef,” Favreau has gone back to basics, with delicious results. The delectable foods that Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) crafts are showcased with close-up shots, but the true heart of the film is the family bonding that although predictable at times is handled with perfect sentimentality.

Losing the struggle for balance between being a divorced dad and being one of LA’s hottest chefs, Carl has become dissatisfied with life. Carl envisions dumping the bland affair his demanding boss (Dustin Hoffman) wants, and infusing his menu with the Cuban flare he dreams of. His sous chef Tony (Bobby Cannavale), scrappy line cook Martin (John Leguizamo) and sometime girlfriend Molly (Scarlet Johansson), the restaurant’s laid back hostess all urge him to make the change, and go with his heart.
It all comes to a head, the night influential restaurant blogger Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) dines there. Bullied into recycling an old menu, Ramsey utterly eviscerates Carl, which starts a twitter war.  Carl isn’t so tech savvy though and things quickly spiral out of control, resulting in him packing up his knives and walking out of his cushy job to figure out what to do next.
Carl finds himself in Miami where his rich ex-wife, Inez (Sofia Vergara), hopes he can rediscover the joy of cooking and maybe even reconnect with their son, Percy (Emjay Anthony). He’s able to do both with the help of his ex’s ex (Robert Downey Jr.) who lends him the money for a greasy old food truck. Taking Percy along as his sous-chef they embark on a cross country trip back to LA bonding while Carl finds his cooking groove.

Favreau has assembled a terrific cast for a road trip that is exuberant and heartfelt, all set to a great soundtrack. Newcomer Anthony holds his own against the seasoned vets of the cast. Leguizamo and Vergara are fantastic in their supporting roles, and Johannson’s small part is just enough to add flavor without overwhelming.

On the Blu-ray there aren’t a whole lot of extras. It’s the usual deleted scenes and commentary from Jon Favreau who wrote and directed Chef, along with co-producer and chef Roy Choi, but the commentary is both fun and insightful.

Chef is available now on Blu-Ray™ Combo pack DVD, digital HD with ultraviolet™


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