‘Chef’ and ‘22 Jump Street’

By on June 25, 2014

Foodies and funnies

Oh my goodness, make sure you eat before you head to theaters to see “Chef!” This culinary tale will make your mouth water and no amount of high quality popcorn will satisfy the rumbling belly.

John Favreau stars (and writes and directs) as chef Carl Casper who is at the top of the culinary world of L.A. His boss, Riva (Dustin Hoffman), is killing his spirit d’cuisine and demands he serve the same menu over and over again. When the chef goes off on a reviewer (Oliver Platt), the scene goes viral and forces ‘Jefe’ to rethink his life. He heads back to his roots in Miami with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara, TV’s “Modern Family”) and pre-teen son (Emjay Anthony) where he gets an old food truck from Marvin (Robert Downey Jr.). Joined by his faithful sous chef Martin (John Leguizamo) he starts off on a life-changing adventure. Along the way, his son tweets the location of the food truck creating a social buzz and the whole thing re-inspires the chef and his family.

Favreau is no master of scriptwriting, but he’s pretty darn good. I loved watching “Chef,” but I just left the theater thinking something was missing. Maybe I needed a more formulaic conflict. Maybe I wanted to see what happened to hostess/love interest Molly (Scarlett Johansson) because she never reappears after Jefe leaves for Miami. Maybe I was distracted by the corporate presence of Twitter (plug: follow me @DrinkItWriteIt). Maybe I just wanted to eat that grilled cheese. Who knows, I might be nitpicking.

All in all, “Chef” is a wonderful film and I can’t wait to show it to my little foodies at home — once they reach the appropriate age for body humor. Until then, any adults looking for a heartwarming, tummy grumbling movie should get out and see “Chef” in theaters.

‘22 Jump Street’

I was just a bit too old to get caught up in the frenzy surrounding the television show “21 Jump Street” (although I think Johnny Depp is an awesome actor) and I have to admit I never saw the movie remake, which came out in 2012. I really had no desire to see “22 Jump Street,” but when a friend told me it was horrible, I couldn’t resist.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the stars of "22 Jump Street."

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the stars of “22 Jump Street.”

Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back, but instead of infiltrating a high school they chase down drug dealers in college. At the school the duo run into a number of suspects and ultimately find the bad guy and bring him to justice. There are some characters that make this movie one step closer to bearable. Mercedes (Jillian Bell) is the dorky roommate of a deceased student and Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) is straight out of Compton — if Compton was a school for comedy. These two carry a lackluster script despite having small roles. Since I was in a good mood, and not expecting much from “22 Jump Street,” I laughed a lot, but most people in the theater did not.

Cinematically, this movie is a train wreck. It is all over the place, touching on slapstick, shock, and pun while slipping into an action flick filled with outrageous and unbelievable stunts. To say “22 Jump Street” was created not to be taken seriously is an oversized simplification. It’s just ridiculous. However, it is also funny. So, if you are looking for a few good laughs and don’t care about quality writing, acting, or directing go out and see “22 Jump Street.”

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at somepromcu@gmail.com.

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