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Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Chef

Feel-good movies. Ugh. That's always my initial thought when someone tells me that the movie I am interested in seeing is a real "feel-good movie". Movies like that are always super cheesy and have pop-music that tries to force the audience into a feeling. This information was especially dubious, as my girlfriend got the tip from some of her elderly co-workers, the same ladies who hated Inside Llewyn Davis and American Hustle (It's ok if you hate them too, I just disagree). There is no way Chef could be any good.

Fact: Chef is a feel-good movie.

Fact: I really liked Chef.

Fact: I don't know who I am anymore!@@@!@#$#%#@

Ok, the last one isn't a fact. Chef had several things to count in its favor where other feel-goods have failed in the past.

1. Very little if any pop-music. I cannot remember anything like that in the movie, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there. It was mostly latin/cubano music, which inspires a must-dance feeling in most people, including myself.
2. The movie managed to hit the beats of story typical to a feel-good/rise-from-the-ashes movie, but somehow avoided a few of the big ones, therefore defying my expectations. I kept waiting for a third act beat where everything is going great, and then BAM! Conflict that must be resolved. And of course it gets resolved and everyone is better for it. Now, the film had that sort of thing in a sense, but compared to what I was expecting the event was really underplayed. There were quite a few of those tropes that the film skimmed over, and I was extremely delighted that it did.
3. This movie does a great job at the old "show, don't tell" bit. A lot of visuals showing the guys working, showing the "tweets" going off, showing the father/son relationship evolve. I mentioned the tweets, and that bit is a little goofy, but it wasn't distracting. They handled the "old dude doesn't get tech" bits very well, in a humorous way.
4. It was a quick movie, and it still managed to have enough character development to be interesting. Sure, I had questions about the other characters in the film that weren't fleshed out that well, but in the long run those questions didn't need to be answered and answering them would have just bogged down the pace of the film.

If I have one real complaint about the movie, it is that I don't think Sofia Vergara is a very good actress. She wasn't given much to do, so maybe I just need to see her in a more meaty role.

I had a lot of fun with Chef. It's not a masterpiece or anything, but it is most definitely worth a watch.

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