Everything Just Sort of Works Out for Schlubby Jon Favreau in Jon Favreau’s "Chef"
[Ed. note: here there be spoilers.]
Jon Favreau’s latest movie “Chef” has been described as “a sweet, instructive story,” an “uplifting” comedy, and “Jon Favreau’s best film since Elf.” It is none of those things. Rotten Tomatoes lied to us, and we are here to tell you that it is bad and you should not see it.
We actually flinched when the final credits ran. The cast, their performances, and the occasional food-porn shots couldn’t save this…this thing, this vanity project financed by Iron Man money in which nothing much goes wrong and everything works out pretty great for Jon Favreau, who stars as Schlubby Jon Favreau in this film written, produced, and directed by Jon Favreau.
Leaving the theater, our girlfriend remarked, “I don’t think that passes the Bechdel test,” and we are pretty sure she is right. There are, we think, four women in the movie: Amy Sedaris in a short scene as a publicist, a roller-blading woman in a bikini on South Beach, and two of the most beautiful women on the planet.
This is a story in which the main character acts like a giant baby, loses his job, and then claws his way back to the top with nothing but child labor from an adoring son, a sous-chef who works for free, and hundreds of thousands of free dollars from his ex-wife, who is Sofia Vergara. We never learn why Sofia Vergara is wealthy, but the nature of her wealth is not important, because she is not a real person.
Here is the story: Jon Favreau plays Schlubby Jon Favreau, who is a genius chef in Los Angeles, and things are pretty great except for his boss, Evil Dustin Hoffman, who cannot comprehend his brilliance. Food critic Oliver Platt is coming in to review the restaurant, and Schlubby Jon Favreau says, “Hey, Evil Dustin Hoffman! Butt out and let us real food artists do the real art, with food!” And Evil Dustin Hoffman says, “No, I am the boss around here, you will cook my stupid food!”
Then Oliver Platt eats the stupid food, and his negative review “goes viral” thanks to “Twitter.” Schlubby Jon Favreau is told this by his adoring child, who he made by having sex with Sofia Vergara. Schlubby Jon Favreau has an enormous sad about this negative review, and he tries to Twitter a mean message to Oliver Platt, but it also “goes viral,” because Schlubby Jon Favreau does not get how Twitter works.
Schlubby Jon Favreau decides to Man Up and challenge Oliver Platt to a rematch of their food duel, but Evil Dustin Hoffman still will not let him cook his genius food. So Schlubby Jon Favreau gets fired/quits, but then he comes back into the restaurant and screams at Oliver Platt for being so mean to him. This meltdown “goes viral” once again on “Twitter,” and Schlubby Jon Favreau loses everything—his job, his, uh…job, everything.
The only thing he can fall back on is his faithful sous-chef who works for free, played by Charming John Leguizamo. And his ex-wife, Sofia Vergara, who is phenomenally wealthy and a model co-parent. And Scarlett Johansson, who plays the edgy hostess with bangs who is also in love with Schlubby Jon Favreau. And his adoring son, who he made by having sex with Sofia Vergara, and who just wants to spend time with him.
Everyone tells Schlubby Jon Favreau that he should Believe In Himself, and Sofia Vergara says, “Hey, come to Miami with me, I need a nanny because I have to work at my mystery job.” But it is a trick, and the real purpose of luring Schlubby Jon Favreau to Miami was so that he could get a free food truck and Believe In Himself again. The food truck is provided by Sofia Vergara’s wealthy ex-husband, who is Robert Downey, Jr., because at this point, why not?
Free food truck in hand, Sofia Vergara takes Schlubby Jon Favreau and their child to see her grandfather, who is basically Tito Puente. He sings Latin jazz at a club, and then they go get Cuban sandwiches, and Sofia Vergara tells Schlubby Jon Favreau that his Cuban sandwiches are better than actual Cuban sandwiches made by actual Cubans in Miami. Genius chef Schlubby Jon Favreau has An Idea: he will sell Cuban sandwiches from his food truck! They will be traditional, which is to say he will steal the recipe for the sandwich he is eating now.
These completely normal Cuban sandwiches take Miami by storm, and business booms thanks to the adoring son’s social media prowess. While working in the cramped food truck, the adoring son accidentally burns and cuts himself, but he insists on continuing to work so that he can spend more time with Schlubby Jon Favreau.
Then the food truck goes to New Orleans, where the adoring child says the he likes beignets, and so the food truck starts serving straight-ahead beignets, too. New Orleans goes bonkers for the beignets that are exactly like the ones at Cafe du Monde, and it’s off to Austin, where the guy who runs Franklin Barbecue just gives Schlubby Jon Favreau four gigantic slabs of smoked brisket, because that is just how things work out for Schlubby Jon Favreau.
“Why don’t we put this smoked brisket in our sandwiches instead of another meat that’s already in our sandwiches?” asks the adoring son, and Schlubby Jon Favreau realizes that he’s learned an Important Lesson about fatherhood, and sandwiches. And then they get back to L.A., and everyone loves the food truck there, too, and Oliver Platt comes up and says, “Good sandwiches, Schlubby Jon Favreau, you are obviously a genius and we should go into business together, and I will provide all the money.” And Schlubby Jon Favreau agrees.
And then the restaurant is open, but no, it is closed for a private party, because now Schlubby Jon Favreau is getting re-married to Sofia Vergara again, the end!
Don’t go see this movie.