Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 99 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    May 15, 2014
    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: Ty Burr
    May 15, 2014
    An engaged, engaging voyage of (re)discovery that’s too in love with its subject to qualify as food porn. It’s food romance.
  3. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    May 22, 2014
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    May 7, 2014
    The first two thirds of Chef crackle with hunger-inducing imagery and laughter-provoking gags.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Mar 10, 2014
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    May 8, 2014
    [A] shallow but enjoyable all-American morality play.
  7. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Mar 10, 2014
    While the more down-to-earth Chef does offer some fascinating autobiographical dimensions, the film is also an overlong, unfunny, largely insufferable bore.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. Jun 1, 2014
    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 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. Expand
  2. Jun 23, 2014
    What a surprise!! I figured it would be something along the lines of a Food Network style production and boy was I wrong.This was an absolutely charming film filled with warmth, humour and characters I cared about. Jon Favreau wrote, directed and acted brilliantly along with an amazing supporting cast. So nice to see a movie that's about people and the trails and tribulations of their lives. It was also an interesting look at the power of social media. Definitely my favourite movie of the year and one of my favorite movies ever. An absolute delight!! Expand
  3. Sep 23, 2014
    A nice warm feel-good movie with one of the best soundtracks I have heard in a very long time. Might even go as far to say I am adding an extra point to overall score due to quality soundtrack.

    The story is simply a pretentious but miserable and bored chef has a midlife incident as a result of pressure from a restaurant owner scared of change and revered food critic publishing a scathing review.

    There are elements of Hollywood cheese but overall i really enjoyed this.

    Highly recommended.
  4. Jun 23, 2014
    This is probably best film that Jon Favreau has ever directed.
    It moved and the performances are stellar. Getting Bobby Cannivale
    and John
    Leguizamo to support him was genius. "Johnny Legs" as
    Leguizamo was finally given some material that he could sink his teeth into.
    Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey Jr. was great in their short stints.
    I like Sofia Vergara, but I had a hard time believing the two were involved.
    Scarlett Johanssen was sexy and smart. What really sells the movie is
    the music. New Orleans brass music as well as Salsa were big as stars
    as were the food and the actors. One minor hitch for me was the ending was too
    formulaic. Otherwise bravo!! Maybe Vince Vaughn can find something just as good
    to revive his dying career.
  5. Sep 20, 2014
    A very delicious and entertaining feelgood movie. The acting from the entire cast is superb, thanks in no small part to its dialogue which makes the conversations sound so natural.

    The directing is excellent, as it showcases the details of cooking, the extraordinary meals that can water your mouth just by looking at it, and the occasional floating windows of social media interactions.

    Perhaps the things that keep the movie from being a masterpiece are the rushed ending and the slight lack of character development. Nonetheless, they don't ruin the film in any major way.

    It's a joyous, funny, and delightful movie. I'm very glad to have seen it.
  6. Sep 6, 2014
    A delightful slice of life.

    Chef is, at its core, a mid-life crisis story where a middle-aged man is forced by circumstance (and internet
    notoriety) to find his true artistic voice and redefine his life. There's also a bunch of really great looking food and some amazing father/son stuff. Emjay Anthony gives an understated and spot on performance here.

    The film is somewhat flawed. Many of the actors are given far too much "strutting and fretting" time. Another round in edit might have made this a leaner and more palatable film.

    Despite this, I find it hard to believe that you won't find a great deal to like about Chef.
  7. Sep 3, 2014
    This was a movie that desperately needed edited down. Scenes and sequences that were way too long. Repetition and indulgence. It takes forever for the film to get going and then when it does, it's so flabby, it's boring. Inexplicably, he yells at son. Inexpiicably, his ex-wife remarries him (what does she do, exactly, to live that lifestyle and wear those dresses constantly?) After being fired, he inexplicably goes home and cooks enough food for a banquet . . . that he eats? that goes to waste? Why didn't he call the critic to his house and have him enjoy what looked like an amazing meal? Oh, because he inexplicably knows nothing about social media even though he's one of the hippest chefs in LA. In LA! How do you not know about social media in LA? Inexplicable . . . I wanted to give this film to one of my classes and have them edit it down to less than 90 minutes. It could be easily done, and it would be a better movie. Expand

See all 42 User Reviews