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

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Kerasotes Glen 10

1850 Tower Rd, Glenview Show map/details

  • Address:

    Kerasotes Glen 10 1850 Tower Rd
    Glenview

  • Venue phone:

    847-729-9600

  • Venue website:

    fandango.com

  • Price:

    $9.50, seniors $6.50, kids $6.50

  • Map

    1. Kerasotes Glen 10
      • 1850 Tower Rd
        Glenview
      • 847-729-9600
      • fandango.com
      • 42.082637,-87.848254
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AMC Loews Crestwood 18

13221 Rivercrest Dr., Crestwood, 60445 Show map/details

  • Address:

    AMC Loews Crestwood 18 13221 Rivercrest Dr.
    Crestwood
    60445

  • Venue phone:

    888-262-4386

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    1. AMC Loews Crestwood 18
      • 13221 Rivercrest Dr.
        Crestwood
        60445
      • 888-262-4386
      • 41.6506,-87.7444
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AMC Loews Streets of Woodfield

601 N Martingale Rd, Schaumburg Show map/details

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    AMC Loews Streets of Woodfield 601 N Martingale Rd
    Schaumburg

  • 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

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    1. AMC Loews Streets of Woodfield
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AMC Loews Woodridge 18

10000 Woodward Ave., Woodridge, 60517 Show map/details

  • Address:

    AMC Loews Woodridge 18 10000 Woodward Ave.
    Woodridge
    60517

  • Venue phone:

    888-262-4386

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    1. AMC Loews Woodridge 18
      • 10000 Woodward Ave.
        Woodridge
        60517
      • 888-262-4386
      • 41.7055,-88.023
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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

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    1. AMC Northbrook Court 14
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AMC River East 21

322 E Illinois St, (at Fairbanks Ct), Chicago Show map/details

  • Address:

    AMC River East 21 322 E Illinois St
    Chicago

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    at Fairbanks Ct

  • Venue phone:

    888-262-4386

  • Venue website:

    amcentertainment.com

  • Transport:

    El stop: Red to Grand. Bus: 29, 65, 66, 124.

  • Price:

    Adult $11.50 after 4pm; kids ages 2–12 $8.50; matinee: $9.50 before 3:55pm; seniors age 60 and up $10.50

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AMC Showplace Hobart 12

2590 Southlake Mall Drive, Merrillville, 46410 Show map/details

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    AMC Showplace Hobart 12 2590 Southlake Mall Drive
    Merrillville
    46410

  • Venue phone:

    888-262-4386

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    1. AMC Showplace Hobart 12
      • 2590 Southlake Mall Drive
        Merrillville
        46410
      • 888-262-4386
      • 41.4682,-87.3145
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AMC Showplace Michigan City 14

100 Meijer Dr., Michigan City, 46360 Show map/details

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    AMC Showplace Michigan City 14 100 Meijer Dr.
    Michigan City
    46360

  • Venue phone:

    800-326-3264

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    1. AMC Showplace Michigan City 14
      • 100 Meijer Dr.
        Michigan City
        46360
      • 800-326-3264
      • 41.676,-86.893
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AMC Showplace Naperville 16

2815 Show Place Dr., Naperville, 60564 Show map/details

  • Address:

    AMC Showplace Naperville 16 2815 Show Place Dr.
    Naperville
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    800-326-3264

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    1. AMC Showplace Naperville 16
      • 2815 Show Place Dr.
        Naperville
        60564
      • 800-326-3264
      • 41.712962,-88.208925
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AMC Showplace New Lenox 14

1320 W. Maple St., New Lenox, 60451 Show map/details

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    AMC Showplace New Lenox 14 1320 W. Maple St.
    New Lenox
    60451

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    888-262-4386

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    1. AMC Showplace New Lenox 14
      • 1320 W. Maple St.
        New Lenox
        60451
      • 888-262-4386
      • 41.516418,-87.990704
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