But of course the story is more complicated than that. Carl is on good terms with his ex-wife, Inez (Sophia Vergara), ever supportive and encouraging. Their adorable 10-year old son, Percy (Emjay Anthony), yearns for more time with his dad, but Carl is always busy with work. Once the prospect of the food truck becomes a reality, Carl, Percy and loyal sous chef, Martin (John Leguizamo), hit the highway on a mega road trip from Miami to L.A. with stops along the way in New Orleans and Austin. It is fun to see our fair city on the screen, especially when Gary Clark, Jr. and his band are playing their music. The entire cast is great, but for me some of the funniest and most spontaneous scenes were with Bobby Cannevale as chef Tony (only seen in the first portion of the movie), a cameo with Amy Sedaris, almost unrecognizable as an over-tanned publicist, and Robert Downey, Jr. as Inez's competitive ex-husband. Both Sedaris and Downey, Jr. are familiar from Favreau's other popular films, Elf, Ironman series and The Avenger series, respectively.
Chef has lots of food porn (Roi Choi produced the film so you know he took care to make sure the food scenes look legitimate), great music and some genuinely funny lines. But the best aspect of the movie is how the father-son relationship evolves over the course of the film. It is interesting to note that there are parallel themes in Chef and Favreau's previous film, Elf. Both are movies essentially about sons trying to create a closer bond with their stand-offish fathers. It feels like Favreau, much like Carl, is getting back to the basics and cooking from the heart. Chef is a feel good movie that satisfies just about every palate. Gina and I give it two Forks Up. (Cathy)