Chef, the new comedy written, directed by, and starring Jon Favreau, is being marketed as an independent film, and so it is to a certain extent. It was financed by an independent production company (Aldamisa Entertainment), and one of its central themes is finding creative fulfillment on personal terms. Yet the filmmaking couldn’t be more Hollywood minded; the sentimental plot and sitcom-ready one-liners would be right at home in a Billy Crystal vehicle, and Favreau’s concept of creative fulfillment has more to do with financial success than the artistic process. Either he’s terminally naive about what it means to be an independent artist or he’s internalized the cynicism of blockbuster filmmaking to the point that it’s inseparable from his worldview. Ultimately that’s a moot point, however, because Chef is so thin and bland it doesn’t even inspire contempt. Continue reading >>