Cast: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Dustin
Hoffmann, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Robert Downey
Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Direction: Jon Favreau
Duration: 2 hours
Story: A chef in a fancy restaurant is removed from his job one day and strikes out on his own, on the road, by starting a food truck. And in doing so, he finds his true calling in life. Review: If you’re passionate about food, this movie, replete with its food imagery, will whet your appetite for all things epicurean.
But apart from that, this is a simple story that is simply told, with various food analogies, of a man who breaks a monotonous cycle and follows his instincts. And so we have the portly chef Carl Casper (Favreau) who toils away in a fancy Los Angeles restaurant, under the aegis of the unadventurous owner Riva (Hoffmann).
Casper sweats and fumes about his job and clearly does not get along with Riva. The latter likes to play it safe and have the menu stick to crowd favourites. Casper tries his best to experiment with the food and give diners a taste of more adventurous flavours.
The narrative bubbles its way to a boiling point, when one day a respected food reviewer called Ramsey (Platt) visits the restaurant. Seeing this as an opportunity to try and impress the critic with a special menu, Casper gets to work. But he is told by the boss to stick to the favourites.
Predictably enough, the restaurant is panned and the vengeful Casper’s spat with Ramsey goes viral. The jobless Casper manages to get a ramshackle food truck with the help of his ex-wife Inez (Vergara) and her current husband (Downey Jr.) and goes on a road trip. His old friend Martin (Leguizamo) as well as his son join him as they cook up Cubanos.
Pleasing yet somewhat predictable, this film marks a sharp departure from Favreau’s various blockbuster (*Iron Man*) films into something far simpler. Johansson, however, is somewhat under-used but on the whole, the story is paced nicely. With food remaining the biggest star of this show, the side dishes also include some family-bonding as well. And the result is a serving of something refreshingly original.