Saturday, 10 May 2014

The New Zealand Comedy Festival - Sue Chef.

When you've only got a month in a foreign country, and you're working every night there, you have to spend your time wisely. That's why a comedians outing was planned yesterday. All of us got up early and travelled to Waiheke, a tropical island about 40 minutes away from Auckland. It has golden beaches, beautiful vineyards and is quite rightly thought of as paradise.

I say all of us went. I didn't. I went to see the film Chef instead.

That was a huge mistake. It was a mistake to say no to paradise, it was a mistake to go to watch Chef and it was a mistake that anyone at all let that film ever get made. Imagine a more schmaltzy Love Actually, a less funny Keith Lemon: The Film and a more offensive Nigel Farage statement and you're about halfway to the godawful, manipulative headache that is Chef. If Chef was a human being it would be Rupert Murdoch. So much bullshit, self satisfaction and money. If Chef had a friend, that friend would kill himself rather than be seen in public with it. If Chef was an animal, vegans everywhere would applaud it's slaughter. I said no to paradise and yes to Chef. What the fuck was I thinking? It's like the time I said no to seeing The Smiths and yes to seeing Nik Kershaw all over again. I'm a fucking idiot. Look, in case you're thinking of seeing Chef, let me just tell you about it...

Jon Favreau, THE MAN WHO MADE IRON MAN, plays a chef who quits his job at a popular restaurant because his boss won't let him create imaginatively in the kitchen. His boss knows he's brilliant but he just wants him to make the same boring, popular meals. After getting one bad online review, the chef realises that he must stand by his principles so he quits this stifling, frustrating, tedious job and goes off to make sandwiches in a van. No. You're right. It makes no fucking sense at all. He's an artist who wants to be taken seriously so, TO PROVE HIMSELF TO THE WORLD, fucks off to make really boring beef and cheese sandwiches. That's like Picasso saying fuck you to the art world and going off to do caricatures in Covent Garden. IT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. And that is the very least of this film's problems.

It's all about a man who got hurt from a bad review and now wants to run away and take all his toys with him. Jon Favreau doesn't just star in this film, it's also written, produced and directed by him. Instead of reading the reviews Iron Man 2 got, taking them on board and making a good film again, Jon Favreau has decided to basically make awful beef and cheese sandwiches. And these are incredibly cheesey sandwiches. Not only is the chef a tormented artist but he's also a divorcee and a dad who has never had time to get to know his son. Favreau has mistaken these things as layers. Failing at your job, your marriage and your one and only actual responsibility doesn't mean you have layers, it just means you're shit at everything. Still, the chef does get lucky. Despite being pretty repugnant looking, shit at everything, obnoxious, unfunny and a man who mistakes being a cunt for being right all the time, two of the most beautiful women you're ever likely to see are in love with him. That's right. Writer, producer and director Jon Favreau made the artistic decision to have Scarlett Johansson and that woman from Modern Family want to bang him. Again, that's nowhere near the most offensive thing in the film. Chef is so clearly bankrolled by Twitter that I wanted to troll it and then block it. At one scene the chef and the son he doesn't know are sitting together discussing Twitter. "I have an account", says the 8 year old boy. "Can you set one up for me?" says the chef AND THEN WE ARE TOLD, BY THE FILM, EXACTLY HOW TO SET UP A TWITTER ACCOUNT. "Is it like texting?", asks the chef. THEN THE SON EXPLAINS WHAT TWITTER IS. Favreau then steals from Sherlock and has his tweets appear over his head every time he writes one. You even hear the proper tweet noise when he presses send. Another mistake I regret making was staying to the end of the film. If I'd just walked out then I could have just lived the rest of my life assuming that the chef's sandwich business had failed, he'd died of starvation and his unloved son spent every day pissing on his dad's grave. But no, I stayed and, to my horror, found out that people love boring sandwiches and the chef's business was a massive success. Suddenly there are hundreds of people queued up outside his sandwich van, all totally psyched about buying a fucking sandwich. "How did they even know we were here?", asks the chef AND HIS SON THEN EXPLAINS HOW YOU ADD PHOTOS AND MAP LINKS TO YOUR TWEETS.


And it never ends. To get the Cuban feel of the film right, Favreau chose the first Now That's What I Call A Tourist In Cuba music compilation he could find and threw it at the soundtrack. Tony Stark is in it - NOT ROBERT DOWNEY JR - it's definitely Tony Stark. And Favreau has written, produced and directed his own idea of a best friend into the film. A man who constantly agrees with chef, tells him he loves him every ten seconds and high fives every clearly stupid decision he makes or line he says. If you had a friend like that you'd have him sectioned. BUT...I guess that's what happens when your ego is huge and the words of a blogger can hurt you. A successful filmmaker, THE MAN WHO MADE IRON MAN, who would even read an online review let alone give a fuck what it said and THIS is how it effects him? He doesn't just laugh and think "I'm Jon fucking Favreau, the brilliant filmmaker who made Iron Man. I made a great film before, I can do it again". Instead, he cries and asks the internet for money and makes this? When Tony Stark is kidnapped and stuck in a cave in Iron Man, his fellow prisoner says to him " are a man who has everything...and nothing". Tony listens, dusts himself off and makes something incredible.

I'm just saying.

By the way, apparently paradise was quite good, by all accounts. But I chose Chef instead. And while those other comedians all have their memories of that paradise, I left that film with nothing. Nothing.

Nothing except the full information on how to correctly tweet Jon Favreau and tell him Chef was crap.

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