The Best Part of the Star-Studded Trailer for Chef Is the Food

Slate's Culture Blog
April 7 2014 5:35 PM

The Best Part of the Star-Studded Trailer for Chef Is the Food

John Leguizamo, Jon Favreau, and Bobby Cannavale as chefs in Chef.
John Leguizamo, Jon Favreau, and Bobby Cannavale as chefs in Chef.

Open Road Films

After Jon Favreau’s foodie comedy Chef premiered at SXSW last month, the first reviews were mixed. While Variety’s Joe Leydon called it an “amiably rambling dramedy” that’s “far too entertaining to be dismissed as self-indulgence,” Indiewire’s Drew Taylor said it “goes from being boring to exceedingly tedious.” (Both writers, and many others, drew parallels between the film’s plot—in which a past-his-prime L.A. restaurant chef, played by Favreau, gets panned by a restaurant critic and returns to a more intimate style of cooking—and Favreau’s Hollywood career post-Cowboys and Aliens.)

Now, Open Road Films has released its first trailer for the film, which opens in wide release on May 9, and this preview plays up the comedy part of “dramedy,” with a clichéd salsa-tinged soundtrack and more than one gag about male genitalia:

In addition to the requisite food truck, there are appearances by an impressive roster of supporting actors, including John Leguizamo as a sous chef, Dustin Hoffman as a no-nonsense restaurant manager, Robert Downey Jr. as a quirky benefactor, and Oliver Platt as the dreaded critic. (Platt’s real-life brother, Adam, is New York’s restaurant critic, a coincidence that Favreau has said he wasn’t aware of when he was casting the role.)

Advertisement

Unfortunately, the women of the film—Sofia Vergara as Favreau’s ex-wife and Scarlett Johansson as a hostess in Favreau’s restaurant—are relegated to roles as supporting caregivers who comfort Favreau when he’s down and moan appreciatively when eating his food. Johansson gets plenty of screen time but says exactly two words in the 2½-minute trailer. In the full-length film, I hope Chef’s actresses are given more interesting things to do than look pretty. 

Luckily, there’s another type of eye candy in the trailer—if its shots of food being lovingly chopped, sautéed, and plated are any indication, Chef will make you hungry even if it doesn't make you laugh.

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Do the Celebrities Whose Nude Photos Were Stolen Have a Case Against Apple?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 3:19 PM In Defense of Congress Leaving Town Without a New War Vote
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 18 2014 3:31 PM What Europe Would Look Like If All the Separatist Movements Got Their Way
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 3:24 PM Symantec Removes Its “Sexual Orientation” Filter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 3:04 PM Pogo Returns With Another Utterly Catchy Disney Remix
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 2:39 PM Here's How to Keep Apple From Sharing Your iPhone Data With the Police
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.