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From the producers of the much loved, Oscar-winning French film The Artist comes Le Chef, an entertaining movie laced with equal parts of both comedy and fumbled romance.
Out of work chef, Jacky Bonnot, has a head filled with creative ideas but no restaurant in which to test them. Having first attempted to serve his gastronomic delights at a truck stop diner with little success, he resorts to working as a painter at a retirement home in order to provide for his girlfriend and soon-to-arrive baby.
Across town, veteran chef Alexandre Legarde has the restaurant and a live cooking show all of his own but is fresh out of ideas for his spring menu. When, by chance, he tastes some of Jacky’s food he offers Jacky the coveted role of his apprentice. Jacky accepts, despite keeping his girlfriend in the dark about having given up paid work for an unpaid apprenticeship under his culinary idol.
The film stars Jean Reno (The Di Vinci Code, Flushed Away, Mission Impossible) as chef Alexandre. After many years at the helm of the restaurant baring his name, he finds his job on the line when the restaurant’s new CEO decides he wants him out. Known for his traditional style of French cooking, Alexandre is forced to seek help outside his own team on the supposed future of cooking: molecular gastronomy.
Le Chef is a real pleasure to watch and, aside from the subtitles, you could almost forget you were watching a foreign language film because it is so accessible. Jean Reno is a familiar face anyway to most American film addicts such as myself so I found the movie easy watch (helped in part by the inclusion of some gorgeous French women with their flawless make-up and style).
Both Reno and Bonnet are perfect in their roles, though I didn’t fully buy in to the ease of their newfound relationship in terms of their rapport and the freedom Alexandre gives Jacky to contribute. Still, Le Chef, is not a film that needs to be taken too seriously – more of something to be absorbed and delighted in. And, if you are able to do that then you will enjoy this film very much.
Le Chef is out in NZ cinemas from 2nd August and is rated M for offensive language.
13 July 2012