Saturday, 28 June 2014

REVIEW - CHEF (JON FAVREAU)


A eulogy to the schlub, trussed up with all the ephemeral pleasures that a middle-brow douchebag is capable of concocting. Jon Favreau's Chef masks its petulant peevishness with laidback comedy and cooking, but these trivial treats don't linger long enough to mask the fact that Chef is one big whine from start to finish. Favreau has designed Chef as a reflection on his career as a high-profile Hollywood filmmaker, as blind in his fictional reconfiguring of fact as he seems to be in real life as to the immense privileges said career has provided this rich, obese,  negligibly-talented, white American male. His concept, whose exposition is obnoxiously elongated thus to delineate his One-Percent Woes in full, involves laying the blame for what he retrospectively regards as poor artistic choices on others, and - even more vainly - prematurely presenting himself as his own saviour. Among this resolutely unattractive man's apparent tribulations are being father to a delightful son, having loyal, supportive friends, possessing a marvellous talent for cooking, and choosing between Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara. To distract from the inherent noxiousness of his conceit, Favreau embellishes Chef with a trite male-bonding narrative that compounds the sense that he is just an incompetent boor as a director (and possibly as a human being), proficient only in rehashing the recipes of others, and not even the good ones. Chef is, at least, graced with the visual delights of some of the finest cuisine on film, and a sense of humour that may be hit-and-miss, and may not conceal the stench of self-obsession that radiates from the film (indeed, it maybe even makes it worse), but does account for a few welcome chuckles.