Chef

  • Review Date: May 9, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Salty comedy about food and fatherhood is made with love.
  • Review Date: May 9, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The core message is strongly positive: Be true to yourself and your work. While it's good to take others' opinions into account, you'll lose your voice if their opinion trumps yours. Also, family is important, especially in times of distress. And when you're down and out, that might just be the best time to try something courageous. You have nothing to lose.

Positive role models

Carl is a fighter, and even when he's been defeated (at work, mostly), he doesn't stay defeated for too long. In fact, he continues to be gracious to others, honest with himself about his shortcomings, and willing to learn how to be better. (No wonder his staff is devoted to him and his vision.) He also struggles mightily to do better as a dad, even if it requires sacrifices on his part.

Violence

A chef goes on an expletive-laden tirade against his restaurant's owner and, later, a food critic.

Sex

Some references to sex acts between adults. A couple kisses, and the woman is later shown reclining in bed, waiting for her lover as he cooks for her. Adults make sexual jokes in front of a child.

Language

Quite salty throughout, with both adults and kids swearing at or around each other. Words include "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "piss," "a--hole," "p---y," and more.

Consumerism

Lots of name-dropping of websites, including Twitter (the process of how to tweet is explained, too), YouTube, and the like. A 10-year-old boy wields an iPhone like a pro, texting and making movies with it. Also: Don Juan tequila, Cafe Dumond, Ketel One, Eater.com, etc.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults are shown smoking (both cigarettes and weed) and drinking socially. A boy is allowed a sip of beer by his father.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chef, starring Jon Favreau (who also wrote and directed the movie) is a fantastic comedy about food, family, and one man's flawed but abiding love for both. The main content issue is salty language ("f--k," "s--t," and more), with one character swearing in front of his young son and an expletive-filled rant being caught on video and posted on YouTube/other websites. There are also some sexual references, kissing, and a woman shown waiting in bed for her lover (no nudity). Adults drink and smoke both marijuana and cigarettes. Technology plays a prominent role in the storyline, along with the attendant product placement. The movie's core message is clearly positive -- be true to yourself and your work -- but beware if you're on a diet: There are plenty of mouth-watering scenes set in the kitchen.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is an inspired, creative chef toiling at an uninspired Los Angeles restaurant. He's capable of so much more than the safe, predictable menu that he serves under the watchful gaze of the restaurant's owner (Dustin Hoffman). After a big-time food blogger (Oliver Platt), once a fan of Carl's, gives him the worst review of his life, Carl confronts his boss and quits. Now what? At the invitation of his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), Carl accompanies her and their son to Miami, where Carl first fell in love with cooking and honed his fresh ideas about food. With no restaurant to cook for, Carl considers opening a food truck. But is that his best move?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Favreau has starred in and directed blockbusters (including the first two Iron Man movies). But he got his start thinking smaller scale, with his breakout indie hit Swingers. CHEF is most likely to please fans of the latter; it's steeped in love -- not just for food, but for filmmaking. This is a movie clearly made with passion and gusto, just as cooking should be. Chef's storyline, filled with references to social media and how it can make or break you, is of-the-moment, but it's ultimately threaded through with a timeless message about finding your bliss.

It's also a fresh take on fatherhood, post-divorce, without the usual treacle. Carl struggles mightily to parent well, even as he juggles the pressures of a career on the brink of destruction, a friendly but still bittersweet divorce, and a heaping dose of self-doubt. His yearning to find his footing as a dad is as authentically drawn as his drive to serve the kind of food he's always longed to cook: simple and good. If there's one complaint about Chef, it's that the ending can be spotted a few food trucks away. But that doesn't feel like a major disappointment -- just what's meant to be. John Leguizamo, Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson also co-star -- brilliantly.

 

 

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Chef's messages. Are any of the positive take-aways about being true to yourself and what you love undercut by the movie's more mature content? What audience do you think the movie is primarily aimed at?

  • What role does social media play in the story? Do you consider Carl's experiences a cautionary tale? What can teens take away from what he goes through?

  • Hollywood loves stories about comeback kids. Is Carl one? What's different about his journey?

  • Is Carl a good father? How would you characterize his relationship with his son? How does the film depict their dynamic?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 9, 2014
DVD release date:September 30, 2014
Cast:Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Director:Jon Favreau
Studio:Open Road Films
Genre:Comedy
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, including some suggestive references

This review of Chef was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bykamiller26 March 17, 2015
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Chef- A Journey to Fatherhood

A close friend recommended the movie, “Chef”, to me, back in January. As I looked through the Redbox, the movie caught my eye and I decided to rent it. I personally love to cook, and have dreamed of opening my own restaurant one day, so as I read the synopsis, this movie tugged on my heart. The movie follows an aspiring and well-known chef, Carl Casper, who strives to impress critics with his food. This aspiration to be the best is a great motivation for him but also comes at a great cost. Because of his crazy work schedule, Carl and his wife suffered a divorce and his son, Percy, suffers the consequences. Percy is a huge fan of his dad, but is neglected by his dad and his busy schedule. Through my evaluation of this movie, the movie wavers back and forth on being okay and not being okay. At some points the movie displays a good, strong dignity towards the human person. However at various points of the movie, especially at the hand of the food critic, the chef’s dignity is destroyed. The movie is inspirational and truth-filled, as you watch the father fight to make his way back up from hitting rock bottom. Through this journey, Carl Casper faces many struggles and also faces his broken relationship with his son. The relationship between the father and son grows stronger as they spend fun, quality time together. Especially in a time where broken families are prevalent, this movie is an inspiration that shows a family’s brokenness being healed. Unfortunately the movie has an excessive and unnecessary amount of foul language and sexual innuendos. There is not a good balance in this movie of this language because it is used way too much. I will admit, as a kitchen cook myself, chefs are known for their excessive use of language in the kitchen, but in this movie it is over the top. Besides the excessive use of language, this movie is inspirational and shows a beautiful journey in fatherhood.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byJLemon113 February 22, 2015
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Great

This is a movie that can be shown to kids that can understand the subject matter, this comedy shows families of a father + son story of them going in a food truck around the U.S. During this trip you get to see them bond, and the shows his gratitude to his dad and also he shows his dad the basics of Twitter. If you haven't seen an R rated movie before this should your first( or The Matrix)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 February 12, 2015
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Tasty but full of too much filling

"Chef" promises a lot of bold flavor: tons of A-list names on the poster and a deliverance of comedy. Well...the meal was a little undercooked. I had a few beefs with "Chef," and now I'll stop making food puns. Favreau's script needed a lot more punch to it, some scenes drag on and some lines that were going to be funny just keep...going. The cast is fine, though RDJ just shows up to repay Favreau for becoming Tony Stark, he's in the movie five minutes tops. John Leguizamo was a pleasant surprise: he, Favreau and Cannavale have great chemistry, I could totally see them in a buddy comedy of their own! I'm also not a fan of pop culture jokes, because when in 20 years someone picks up "Chef," references to Twitter and other mentioned brands will seem so dated. Ultimately though, the movie is a father-son bonding movie, and seeing that progression onscreen, cliched as it might be, worked for me, and the movie does hit you with some good laughs. Check it out on a full stomach!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide