Chef (Blu-ray)

November 18, 2014 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant before then chances are you know that it can be more than a little stressful. After all, you’re dealing with a mix of different personalities in an enclosed setting. The front of the house is almost an entirely different world than the cooks behind the scenes, but it has to all come together if you want to run a smooth ship. In today’s modern world where social media can make or break a business, Chef touches a bit on that. Jon Favreau plays Carl Casper, he is the head chef at a restaurant owned by Riva (Dustin Hoffman). There’s a food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) who has a huge online following. After he posts some not so kind words about Carl’s cooking, Carl retaliates by retweeting an angry tweet at Ramsey. He thinks he’s sending a private message, but it goes viral in almost no time. This is only the first mistake Carl makes. He gets in a falling out with Riva, and gets fired from his job. After he learns that the critic is eating at the restaurant, he shows up goes off on him in front of the entire restaurant. The clip is posted all over the internet, and it’s here that Carl decides to get away for a while and clear his head. His Ex-Wife Inez (Sophia Vergara) asks her other Ex-Husband to set up Carl with a food truck. It’s here that he, along with his son decide to travel across the country selling food straight from the truck. The goal is to sell food on their way back home. His former colleague Martin (John Leguizamo) decides to join him as well. This is more of less the plot. There’s not much going on here in terms of story, but we’re basically watching one man doing what he loves; cooking.

Admittedly, this film won’t be for everyone, but I found it refreshing to see after so many mindless action flicks and remakes as of late. The relationship that builds between Carl and his son is also fun to watch over the course of the film. The two of them begin to really bond, and I enjoyed the scenes with the three of them cooking on the food truck. In fact, the entire second half of the film is devoted to the time spent on the truck. For a good chunk of the first half, we see Carl’s daily routine as he shops for the food for the restaurant. As mentioned, there’s very little here in terms of plot, but I don’t think that hurts the film. It could’ve thrown in an extra sub-plot here and there or added some drama to the proceedings, but thankfully that doesn’t happen. If there is a nit to pick, it’s that the film does tend to drag a bit. Since the plot is relatively simple and straightforward, there are a few scenes that just feel drawn out. With a slightly tighter narrative, this would’ve been a little more successful. As it stands, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The ending is a little too tidy, but otherwise, it’s definitely worth renting. I’m doubtful how many times I need to re-watch it, but it’s worth seeing for sure.

Video: How’s it look?

Universal is generally pretty consistent with their transfers and this is no exception. The colors are all very bold and vibrant. The print is pristine with no visible flaws or other artifacts. This should come as no surprise since it’s such a recent film, but you never know. Background shots are strong with no real issues to speak of. The transfer is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio. It’ll please fans.

Audio: How’s it sound?

There isn’t a lot to report on here. The DTS HD track is fine, but this is a mostly talky film, so don’t expect anything to change your world, so to speak. There is some background noise during the early restaurant scenes with crowd banter in the background, but the front channels do most of the work. Vocals were always clear and audible.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – Jon Favreau and Producer Roy Choi provide a running track for the film. It provides the usual notes (casting, locations, shooting, etc…) so fans will want to check it out.
  • Deleted Scenes (10:31) – We get 7 sequences including some outtakes from an early scene. The film already ran too long, so these scenes would’ve slowed it down more. Nothing here is of great importance, either.
  • Previews
  • DVD/Digital Copy

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