Chef (R)

Film

Comedy

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

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Time Out says

Tue May 6

Carl Casper (writer-director Jon Favreau) is stuck in a chocolate-lava-cake rut. Ten years into his plum post at a high-end L.A. eatery, the onetime Miami food wunderkind has taken to passionless, crowd-baiting cooking, hamstrung by his seat-filling restaurateur boss (Dustin Hoffman). When that kitchen complacency is brutally called out by a big-time critic (Oliver Platt, in a deliciously cheeky bit of casting—real-life bro Adam is New York magazine’s longtime food critic), Carl’s retaliatory lash-out goes viral, and the disgraced toque is told to pack his knives and go.

At the cajoling of his ex-wife, Inez (a subdued Sofía Vergara), Carl escapes his newfound Internet infamy, returning to Miami and his long-neglected, mop-topped young son, Percy (Emjay Anthony). Reinvigorated by his old stomping grounds, Carl decides to pull a culinary 180 and ditch his fine-dining chef’s whites for a junky Cubano food truck, embarking on a road to redemption both at home and in the kitchen.

Swap out a food truck for a personal-growth indie and you’ve got Favreau’s career in an easy-to-crack nutshell. Since writing and starring in 1996 critics’ darling Swingers, the multihyphenate has been wading in the franchise pool (namely, the Iron Man movies), sometimes meeting with his own version of reviewer hateration. (See: Cowboys & Aliens. Better yet, don’t.) Chef marks a return to Favreau’s home-cooked roots, albeit with the perks of his big-budget finesse. The nonstop kitchen bustle has the top-shelf slickness of an action-movie sequence, and the high-calorie food porn is as excellently gratuitous as a car chase.

A meandering middle and sticky-sweet third act can be overlooked if only for the savviness with which Favreau portrays the food world. Employing Kogi food-truck founder Roy Choi as an on-set consultant, Favreau nails the locker-room camaraderie between Carl and his line lieutenants (a game John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale), the local color of gastro meccas like New Orleans and Austin (a few ounces should have been shaved off these travelogue tangents, but you’ll be too food-drunk off glistening barbecue to care) and the make-or-break role of social media in restaurant life. There’s family-friendly fluff here, sure, but this dish has considerable bite.

Follow Christina Izzo on Twitter: @christinalizzo

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Release details

Rated:

R

US release:

Fri May 9, 2014

Duration:

115 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Jon Favreau

Cast:

Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt

Screenwriter:

Jon Favreau

Movie Theaters showing Chef

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AMC Northbrook Court 14

1525 Lake-Cook Rd, Northbrook Show map/details

  • Address:

    AMC Northbrook Court 14 1525 Lake-Cook Rd
    Northbrook

  • Venue phone:

    888-262-4386

  • Venue website:

    amcentertainment.com

  • Price:

    Adults $10 after 4pm; kids ages 2–12 $7; matinee $8 before 3:55pm; seniors age 60 and up $9

  • Map

    1. AMC Northbrook Court 14
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Century 16 Deer Park

21600 W Field Pkwy, Deer Park, 60010 Show map/details

  • Address:

    Century 16 Deer Park 21600 W Field Pkwy
    Deer Park
    60010

  • Venue phone:

    800-326-3264

  • Map

    1. Century 16 Deer Park
      • 21600 W Field Pkwy
        Deer Park
        60010
      • 800-326-3264
      • 42.1635,-88.1515
Map

La Grange Theatres

80 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, 60525 Show map/details

  • Address:

    La Grange Theatres 80 S. La Grange Road
    La Grange
    60525

  • Venue phone:

    708-354-0460

  • Map

    1. La Grange Theatres
      • 80 S. La Grange Road
        La Grange
        60525
      • 708-354-0460
      • 41.8129,-87.8695
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  • Thu Aug 21:

    • 8:20pm

Landmark's Century Centre Cinema

2828 N Clark St, (between Diversey Pkwy and Orchard St), Chicago Show map/details

  • Address:

    Landmark's Century Centre Cinema 2828 N Clark St
    Chicago

  • Cross Street:

    between Diversey Pkwy and Orchard St

  • Venue phone:

    773-509-4949

  • Venue website:

    landmarktheaters.com

  • Transport:

    El stop: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Diversey. Bus: 22, 36, 76.

  • Price:

    $11, seniors $8.50, kids $8.50, students $9 (Mon–Fri)

  • Map

    1. Landmark's Century Centre Cinema
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  • Thu Aug 21:

    • 1:15pm
    • 7:00pm

Wilmette Theatre

1122 Central Ave, (between 11th St and Wilmette Ave), Wilmette Show map/details

  • Address:

    Wilmette Theatre 1122 Central Ave
    Wilmette

  • Cross Street:

    between 11th St and Wilmette Ave

  • Venue phone:

    847-251-7424

  • Venue website:

    wilmettetheatre.com

  • Transport:

    Train: Union Pacific N to Wilmette.

  • Map

    1. Wilmette Theatre
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  • Thu Aug 21:

    • 7:15pm
  • Fri Aug 22:

    • 5:30pm
  • Sat Aug 23:

    • 8:00pm
  • Tue Aug 26:

    • 7:00pm

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