Writer/director Jon Favreau's gentle comedy-drama Chef is an odd duck -- a schizoid effort that never seems to grasp its own strengths. It begins magnificently,†as a swift and savage excoriation of Los Angeles culinary pretensions, before regressing into formulaic drivel.
Favreau stars as visionary Los Angeles chef Carl Casper, star player in the kitchen of restaurateur Riva (Dustin Hoffman). Carl specializes in cuisine so diabolically inventive that it would earn the instant approbation of Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay†-- the sort of dishes that inspire "what is he thinking?" comments†from o...