Le Chef, M, 84 mins
This French double-act comedy, whipped up from the producers of Academy Award-winning The Artist, is a delicious light-hearted affair.
Alexandre Lagarde (Jean Reno, Godzilla) is a veteran chef with three Michelin stars. Despite his intimidating reputation, Lagarde is in danger of losing his restaurant after the new boss of his restaurant group decides he wants a fresh new look. Lagarde must impress some powerful restaurant critics with his new spring menu, or he will be replaced with a younger chef who creates molecular gastronomy dishes that look more like science experiments than meals. The trouble is, Lagarde is out of ideas.
Meanwhile, Jacky Bonnot (Michael Youn) is a talented self-taught chef with plenty of ideas, but no restaurant to showcase them. Lagarde stumbles upon Bonnot's cooking and employs him, beginning a professional relationship that is far from smooth sailing. They toss around sharp banter and nail their comedic scenes.
The film is exuberant and the expressive French language makes the food scenes even more succulent.
There are some great lines and the characters are well developed. Reno and Youn play the leads very well, injecting affable qualities that outshine their characters' less likeable traits. Le Chef is charming and the constant quick wit keeps it from deflating like a souffle.
- © Fairfax NZ News