Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    May 15, 2014
    100
    Chef is the best thing he (Favreau) has ever done, as writer or director or actor. It's the sort of thing of beauty that filmmakers are ultimately remembered for.
  2. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    Apr 18, 2014
    91
    The film is loose and genuine and makes great use of place.
  3. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    May 8, 2014
    90
    If this all sounds fairly rote, it's far from it. That's because the filmmaker largely eschews done-to-death family dynamics, forced obstacles and predictable responses for authentic interaction, organic humor and a hopeful vitality.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 22, 2014
    88
    Best of all is Favreau. Instead of mass-producing another superhero epic, he has given the overfed public a dish of right-sized comfort food.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    May 15, 2014
    88
    An engaged, engaging voyage of (re)discovery that’s too in love with its subject to qualify as food porn. It’s food romance.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    May 15, 2014
    88
    There’s nothing terribly profound about Chef. But its message — that relationships, like cooking, take a hands-on approach — is a sweet and sustaining one.
  7. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    May 8, 2014
    88
    A slow-cooked film that's one of the most heartwarming of the young year.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    May 8, 2014
    88
    Buoyed by a Latin-flavored score and Favreau's knack for improv inspiration, Chef is the perfect antidote to Hollywood junk food. Like the best meals and movies, this irresistible concoction feels good for the soul.
  9. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    May 22, 2014
    83
    Favreau's a big man who knows how to wield a chef's knife and shoots the food truck scenes with a hectic good nature that's infectious.
  10. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    May 23, 2014
    80
    Here's a film that feeds the heart and the soul.
  11. Reviewed by: Christina Izzo
    May 10, 2014
    80
    A meandering middle and sticky-sweet third act can be overlooked if only for the savviness with which Favreau portrays the food world.
  12. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    May 21, 2014
    78
    Chef is filled to the brim with the kind of heart and vivacity that makes up for the film’s familiar storyline.
  13. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Mar 9, 2014
    76
    If the Favreau-written “Swingers” concerned itself with the pursuit of meaningful romance and the Favreau-directed “Made” tackled the pursuit of a better living, then the slight if continually amusing Chef is clearly his paean to rekindling one’s passions, whether as an artist, a husband or a father.
  14. Reviewed by: Craig Offman
    Jun 5, 2014
    75
    Chef is compelling, somewhat convincing and, according to many who know better than I, it’s largely on trend.
  15. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    May 15, 2014
    75
    Funny, quirky and insightful, with a bounty of interesting supporting characters and not a ton of concern about telling a conventional story.
  16. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    May 15, 2014
    75
    Favreau worked hard to replicate an authentic restaurant world, and it shows in every frame that involves chopping, dicing, slicing, sautéing or otherwise cooking (he also finds an ingenious way to visually portray Twitter, so vital in the marketing of food trucks).
  17. 75
    Chef is Favreau’s most personal film since “Swingers,” an overlong comedy full of his food, his taste in music, his favorite places and a boatload of his favorite actors.
  18. Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    May 9, 2014
    75
    This is comfort comedy, pure and simple.
  19. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    May 7, 2014
    75
    The first two thirds of Chef crackle with hunger-inducing imagery and laughter-provoking gags.
  20. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 7, 2014
    75
    He’s great as a celebrity chef who’s forced to re-examine his priorities in this extremely funny and big-hearted comedy that Favreau also wrote.
  21. 70
    A comfort movie about comfort food, Chef won’t knock your socks off, but it believes in itself — and for Favreau, that’s all that matters.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    May 8, 2014
    70
    Like so much in Chef, the plot resolution seems contrived and a bit silly. By then, though, we've had plenty of laughs, and generous helpings of warm feelings—the meat and potatoes of real life.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Mar 10, 2014
    70
    The final destination is entirely predictable — right down to the deus ex machina reappearance of an erstwhile antagonist — but the trip itself is never less than pleasant, and often extremely funny.
  24. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 9, 2014
    67
    There’s a pretty good movie buried somewhere deep inside the ungainly pastry that is Chef.
  25. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    May 15, 2014
    63
    Favreau's masterly light touch as an actor hasn't yet translated to a similarly deft offhandedness behind the camera. The movie, slick and shallow, is fairly entertaining anyway.
  26. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Jun 23, 2014
    60
    Eat well beforehand or you’ll be in tummy-rumbling, tongue-hanging-out agony as the merry band cook their way across America. Good fun and happy, filling fare.
  27. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    May 8, 2014
    60
    [A] shallow but enjoyable all-American morality play.
  28. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    May 8, 2014
    60
    Scenes of Favreau at the grill bantering with Leguizamo and Cannavale could almost sustain an entire movie.
  29. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    May 7, 2014
    60
    It may not be for all tastes, but there’s genuine value in a feel-good film that works this well without making viewers feel bad first.
  30. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Mar 10, 2014
    60
    The easygoing comedy keeps a familiar story going despite minor plot hiccups.
  31. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    May 7, 2014
    58
    For anyone who’s followed Favreau’s career since the mid-’90s, the temptation to read Chef as veiled autobiography will be overpowering.
  32. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Mar 9, 2014
    58
    By its later scenes, Chef only finds respite from its bland qualities through the scrumptious-looking dishes constantly on display. As self-indulgent vanity projects go, this one's pretty innocuous, if only because it's always easy on the eyes.
  33. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    May 1, 2014
    50
    Chef is so charmingly middlebrow that it's exactly the cinematic comfort food it mocks: Favreau has made not a game-changing meal to remember, but a perfect chocolate lava cake.
  34. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    May 8, 2014
    40
    Personal or not, this lazy fantasy doesn't offer many more pleasures than an Instagram account.
  35. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Apr 23, 2014
    38
    Jon Favreau's film comes off as flippant in its view of independent labor as a universally liberating experience for an artist and businessman.
  36. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Mar 10, 2014
    16
    While the more down-to-earth Chef does offer some fascinating autobiographical dimensions, the film is also an overlong, unfunny, largely insufferable bore.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 164 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 55
  2. Negative: 1 out of 55
  1. Jun 1, 2014
    10
    Who knew a movie about a food truck could turn into one of the best movies of the year? Of course, that's a rudimentary plot synapsis, but itWho knew a movie about a food truck could turn into one of the best movies of the year? Of course, that's a rudimentary plot synapsis, but it is the heart and soul of the film. It's sometimes sweet, but sometimes serious. It has a nice blend of wit and humor, and features an amazing script that just feels like everyday conversation. The best part of the movie is what many directors strive for but never fully achieve: it shows how skilled professionals work, and how they feel when they do what they love (or hate for that matter). The food shown in the movie makes you lick your lips and just want to eat all the gourmet dishes Chef Casper prepares. And in some ways, the movie resembles the food he prepares: fresh, irresistible, and easily taken in. I could go on and on about what a good movie this was. Full Review »
  2. May 19, 2014
    8
    CHEF is a total delight! I was expecting a forced attempt by Hollywood veterans to make a "charming" and "heartfelt" indie. Instead, ICHEF is a total delight! I was expecting a forced attempt by Hollywood veterans to make a "charming" and "heartfelt" indie. Instead, I discovered a truly genuine film that is both charming and heartfelt for real with no unnecessary plot points (OK, the end is a bit rushed and tagged on). This is the best film since SINGIN IN THE RAIN to depict the pleasure and fun of hard work, friendship, and camaraderie. CHEF has a great spirit that is never forced and every performance is truly perfect. Just spot on in every way. Favreau really shows what a great director of actors he is in the direction of Emjay Anthony. This is a real kid, not a movie kid.

    CHEF will surprise you in the best way! Work hard, appreciate what you've got. A great message.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 9, 2014
    8
    Don't see this movie if you are hungry! There are many closeups of delicious food being prepared and sometimes eaten that will head you toDon't see this movie if you are hungry! There are many closeups of delicious food being prepared and sometimes eaten that will head you to the nearest four star restaurant. But this is much more than a foodie movie. Rather it is a story of human relationships, primarily that between writer-director-actor Jon Favreau, who plays an ultra chef, and his growing relationship with his 10 year old son who is seen only occasionally because of a divorce. Fate intervenes, father and son are together for a protracted period during a trip from Miami to California in a food truck, and excellent acting by Favreau and the boy will warm one's heart as father and son bond . The ending is a bit contrived, but leaves the audience in an upbeat mood--people applauded at the end. One caveat. The film is rated R because the grown-ups all seem addicted to the F word. An occasional use would have been sufficient and allowed a PG-13 rating. A pity but something that Hollywood does all too often under the mistaken impression that the vast majority of Americans are using the word in everyday conversation. Full Review »