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Jon Favreau's 'Chef' Opens Friday, May 23 in SA




Jon Favreau is at his finest when he's running the show from conception to screen time. He's an everyman, kind of schlubby, still has game, and yes, he's terribly funny. So it would stand to reason that Chef, his latest flick since directing 2011's Cowboys & Aliens, is a tasty original story (and those are so few and far between– I'm looking at you, Godzilla). He ditched the sci-fi for something he knows he can deliver–a bright, smart, family flick that just about everyone can enjoy. And yes, Chef is just that. Favreau plays the titular chef, Carl Casper, who is somehow savvy enough to know about prominent bloggers, but isn't familiar with Twitter. Over the course of two-hours, Chef follows the follow and eventual rise as Caspar works through a culinary rut and a botched family life. It's two hours of food porn blended with just the right amount of culinarian sass and heart. Here are a few reasons why you should cough up some dollars and watch this instead of yet another reboot/hero flick: 1. All the food porn: There's chopping, slicing, dicing, all manners of curing, and searing and probably the sexiest grilled cheese I've ever seen. You'll definitely leave wanting a beignet (head to Where Y'at for those), and a Cubano (I'm heading to La Marginal ASAP). The only scene that made me almost vomit was the brief food erotica by none other than hot chick du jour Scarlett Johansson. Gross, lady. It's just some pasta. 2. Shop Talk: The exchanges between Favreau's Casper and food blogger Ramsey Michel (played by Oliver Platt) are cringe-worthy, but hilarious. The interactions between chef and his cooks are almost too similar to local dudes in the kitchen. It's also refreshing to see the behind-the-scenes bargaining that comes with owning a restaurant versus being the chef. 3. Food as Art: It's not just about tiny plates with swirls and dots. Chef hones in on the creativity behind making delicious and inventive food without the constraints of a safe, but boring, menu. Favreau trained with chef Roy Choi of Kogi fame, and that attention to detail really pays off. Alas, the movie did leave me with a few MAJOR nagging questions: Where were all the female chefs? Or female sous chefs? Where were the female bloggers? Female reviewers? Don't get me wrong–I love Platt. But as a fellow screening attendee put it quite succinctly and sarcastically, "We all know bloggers are middle-aged men." Chef will play at Santikos Palladium, Bijou and Embassy and Alamo Drafthouse Park North on Friday, May 23.

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