Chef’s Special – A Review

Big Night meets the Bird Cage might be the best way to describe this gay cooking comedy. It was funny in the way that slapstick and exaggerated characters can be: fun for a while, but not good for a repeat viewing. It was an at times funny movie filled with stereotypes that were played well: the flamboyant gay man, the ex-punk, the desperately lonely woman, the parents who are unable to understand the gay son and either make constant jokes or are constantly praying to God for his salvation. Mix all those together and you’re bound to get some laughs. At times, though, the movie seemed a little slow, in part because it is more than just comedy. The chef also has two children with whom he has a bad relationship. In particular, the relationship with the son is troubled and the film is much more serious. In these scenes the film slows down and could have been treated a little better in serious film. The real problems between the two are somewhat distracting and would be better served in a less comedic way where the topic is respected more.

The description from the SIFF guide describes the part of the film quite well: “Maxi is a master chef who wants a Michelin star so badly he can taste it. After years of toiling in his chic Madrid restaurant, he feels he’s on the brink of culinary superstardom—that is, until Maxi’s two estranged children show up on his doorstep. Not only are the children grieving over the recent death of their mother, they must now come to terms with their father’s openly gay lifestyle. To complicate matters further, Horacio, a sexy Argentine ex-soccer star, moves in next door, diverting the attentions of both Maxi and Alex, the restaurant’s unstable maître d’.” The soccer player, though, is in the closet becuase he is afraid of the homophobic sports world.

In all it is a light romantic/family/food comedy that has its moments.