Chef: Why Rated R?

Chef-Movie-Poster

Chef (2014 R) is all Jon Favreau.  If you want to make a movie with fewer people telling you what to do, you write, direct and star in it yourself.

But Favreau also had no one telling him to cut out the profanity.

This is a nice movie that could have a wide audience.  It has many things going for it.  But the R rating limits this film.

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1. Well rounded story

Carl Casper (Favreau) is a chef who does not feel he can express his talent working for someone else.  Working long hours, he mostly pushes aside his young son Percy (Emjay Anthony) during his visits.  He gets fired after launching an insulting twitter fight with a food critic (funny!).  His ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) suggests he starts his dream job working for himself in a food truck.  We see as he starts to bond with his son over Cuban sandwiches.  Casper keeps his language clean around his son (mostly, and I cringe when he doesn’t), but lets loose the rest of the movie.

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2.  Food

Food shows are everywhere.  Food trucks are popular.  Pinterest is filled with food photos.  In the movie, Casper shows love by cooking.  It is enjoyable watching him put so much care into his meals.  Yet we have to hear unpleasant words, which isn’t enjoyable.

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3.  Cute kid

Percy wants his dad to pay attention to him.   He wants to know his dad loves him.  Eleven-year-old Emjay Anthony does a terrific job showing the struggles Percy internalizes as a child of busy, divorced parents.  Other kids would like this movie, if the language was cleaned up for a more friendly rating.

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4.  Great guest appearances

Favreau has given actors wonderful parts to play with.  Sofia Vergara is not a stereotype Latina, but a successful businesswoman who loves her son.  John Leguzamo mostly just plays straight man as the assistant cook. Scarlett Johansson holds the restaurant together as Casper melts down.  Dustin Hoffman is the stick-in-the-mud restaurant owner. Robert Downey Jr has one hilarious scene as the ex-husband.  It feels like these actors were given dialogue outlines, then allowed to improvise.  Unfortunately,  some of them improvise with the type of language that gives a movie an R rating.

Bottom line

About the profanity, IMDb says Chef contains, “About 45 F-words and its derivatives, 3 sexual references, 51 scatological terms, 22 anatomical terms, 11 mild obscenities and 3 religious exclamations (e.g. Christ, Oh My God).”

About the profanity, Favreau says, “Kitchens are not PG places…. But I’m very comfortable with my kids seeing this. This is how people speak, and I think it’s a responsible film.”

What do you think?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Chef: Why Rated R?

  1. Pingback: Chef vs. Reality: A food truck owner’s perspective | Film Encounters

  2. I don’t believe that “this is how people speak”; that he can simply throw a wet blanket statement out like that as if foul language is a cultural standard in the US. On the whole I don’t hear this type of language when at stores, at Disneyland, on the phone with my computers tech rep, or restaurants. And suppose you were sitting down to a nice meal at Olive Garden and heard the people at the next table talking that way. I fully believe the manager would politely ask them to tone it down. That kind of language is not acceptable, nor responsible.

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