The story here is thin, the comedy is gentle; there are times when you wonder what this movie is really all about, but its heart is always in the right place. If you’re looking for something breezy and pleasant, without tension or sex or violence, pull up a seat. In some ways, it reminds me of an expensive meal in a fine restaurant. The ingredients are choice; the preparation is skillful; the flavors retain their individual identity; the presentation convinces you that you got everything you paid for. And do not go into this movie hungry. Whenever Carl (Jon Favreau) is at a loss for what to do, he cooks and the multiple montages will leave your mouth watering and your stomach calling. Popcorn won’t be enough.
This is the story of a chef who loves to cook, but director Favreau mixes other ingredients into the pot: he offers a lesson in using social media, reconnecting with children, finding and following your dream, the public’s ability to forgive and forget, and falling in love again. If at any point in this movie you’re bored, hold on for just a minute or two – Favreau has something else on the menu. What really holds everything together are the performances; most roles are too small, but they’re quirky enough to be interesting. Parts are slow, as if we’re waiting for the next course, and some of the food montages look like Favreau is just showing off. There is excessive smoking and use of the “F” word, but nothing is intended to be offensive. This is tasty stuff.