Jon Favreau as Carl Casper in Chef

Chef – celebrity caricature and movie review!

Surprise! You’re getting a twofer on this post – a celebrity caricature and movie review all rolled up into one!

First, the caricature: Jon Favreau in his role as Chef Carl Casper holding the Cuban sandwich that he sells on his food truck. This one was done using Procreate on the iPad.

Jon Favreau as Carl Casper in Chef

I’m not actually a movie critic. This may be my first and last review… but I just decided I’d take a stab at it, so here goes!

So after about a month of super busy work for both Joel and I, we finally got a date night together last night. Here’s how the conversation went down the day of:
J – “So, what do you want to do?”
S – “I don’t know.”
J – “Ok. I’ll think of something.”
Well that something ended up going to drinks and seeing a movie… Yes, a typical date night but made exotic by its rarity due to our Parent status. I thought Joel would pick The Fault in Our Stars because he had been talking about it endlessly, read the novel, and goaded me into reading the novel (which I did, starting at about half past midnight and finishing it about 3 hours later. It’s pretty good.) Instead, he picked Chef, a movie neither of us really knew much about, hence we both were going in with few expectations. (Also, it started at a time that worked for our schedule: after the kid goes to sleep, but not exceedingly late – we are parents, after all.)

So, the premise of the movie: Jon Favreau plays chef Carl Casper who’s lost his mojo. He’s head chef at a swanky restaurant, father to a super cute son named Percy who wears very fashionable hats, and ex husband to a beautiful, mysteriously rich Latina. Actually, it’s not fair to say he’s lost his mojo; it’s more that he’s creatively stifled by the uppity restaurant manager played by Dustin Hoffman. After an uninspired meal is panned by LA’s most famous food blogger and the post subsequently goes viral, Casper finds himself in a social media celebrity showdown that ends up all over the internet.

Publicly humiliated and out of a job, Casper’s wife invites him to Florida with her and their son as Percy’s de facto nanny. Turns out she also has aims to help him start up a food truck business as well by calling in a favor from her first ex husband (played to great hilarity by Robert Downey Jr. and weirdly reminiscent of Rob Lowe’s Wayne’s World character). Turns out this is a great turning point for Casper as he rediscovers his love for Cuban food (and so did I – those food shots scattered throughout had me drooling) and as he reconnects with his son as they drive their food truck cross-country back to LA.

All in all, a typical romcom in its story, but with a couple of unique factors that especially hit the “feel good” button: the incredibly sensual cooking and food shots that made the Food Network famous; some truly hilarious cameos including Amy Sedaris, Russell Peters, and the aforementioned Robert Downey Jr.; fabulous settings across America showcasing the country’s varied food culture; and an interesting commentary on social media – whether deftly or clumsily used, it can be a driving force in the fortunes of individuals.

Overall Chef was a fantastic date night movie with one caveat: the lack of any realistic female characters. Casper’s wife, Inez (played by Sophia Vergara) is a beautiful cipher: she is wealthy, she is Latin, she has a job that requires her to have a publicist. Same with Scarlett Johansson’s character, Molly, whose prominent role in the movie is to have Scarlett Johansson in the movie. Yes, this movie is about Chef Casper. But it’s also about his family and he love he rediscovers for them. Percy (played by ultra-cute Emjay Anthony) has no problem being fleshed out as a supporting character. So why not Inez?

Despite this flaw, I would still recommend Chef to those looking for a good comedy with some truly heartfelt moments. Also to foodies. Which is pretty much everybody I know.

Vancouver BC caricature artist Sarah Heng Hartse website
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