Australian Council on Children and the Media

Chef

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (Coarse language ; Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Chef
  • a review of Chef completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 May 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to coarse language and themes
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Chef
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Frequent coarse language
Length 114 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Chef is an American comedy about workaholic chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) who is fired from his job in Los Angeles. Carl has worked in restaurants for years but his passionate dedication and strong work ethic caused him to negect his relationship with his son Percy (Emjay Anthony), as well as his marriage to now ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara).

 After being fired, Carl is forced to reassess his main concerns in life and decides to start a mobile food service with home-style cooking. Inez’s ex-husband Marvin (Robert Downey Jr) offers Carl an old used truck, which Carl and his son work together to renovate. Once completed, the two join forces with Martin (John Legizamo)and the three begin a road-trip journey across the United States, with Percy updating various social media websites in order to advertise the travelling truck named ‘El Jefe Cubanos’.

 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Work/life balance; family and parenthood; friendship and loyalty; cooking and food critics; social media

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

None of concern

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

None of concern

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

None of concern

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

None of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

None of concern

Product placement

There is a significant level of product placement within the film, including:

  • Continual references to, and depictions of, Twitter and its user interface. Multiple characters utilise Twitter and send tweets (both to communicate in an personal sense, and to advertise the food truck and their new business).
  • There are multiple verbal and visual references to Facebook, as well as Youtube and the Vine.
  • Percy is also seen to be using an Apple iPad, with a background picture from the famous game ‘Team Fortress 2'.

Sexual references

There are several sexual references within the film, including:

  • Carl’s colleagues make references to Twitter being useful in ‘getting pussy’.
  • Carl’s two chefs have drinks with him in a bar, and one says ‘Let’s have a three-way right now’.
  • Inez discusses getting drunk with her ex-husband, and comments that they almost had sex.
  • Martin puts corn starch down his pants, as does Carl – they tell Percy that it is like baby powder and helps deal with the humidity of the climate they are in at the time.
  • Martin holds a baguette he is about to cook with, positioned as though it is a large penis.

Nudity and sexual activity

Some kissing

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in the film, including:

  • Carl and colleagues are seen doing shots in a bar, while also smoking. They are later seen again in the bar drinking beer out of bottles.
  • Percy takes a sip of beer while with his father and Martin. Carl encourages him to have it knowing that he will hate the taste.

Coarse language

There is considerable use of coarse language in the film, including:

  • Shit; crap; shitfaced; fucking/fuck; pussy; asshole; dick; ‘stick it in his ass’; motherfucker; prick.

In a nutshell

Chef is the story of one man’s journey as he discovers more about his family, his life, and what he is capable of achieving. The film promotes the idea of taking chances, even when the odds are stacked against you. It also speaks about the nature of parenting, and how crucial it is for parents to develop a quality relationship with their children as opposed to prioritising aspects of their life that may be temporary or less significant in the long-term.

Children may be attracted to the film because of an interest in cooking (and TV shows about cooking) but parents are warned that the film deserves its M rating for frequent, and quite strong, coarse language and the themes and story make it more suitable for an adult audience.

Parents of older children who see the film may wish to discuss what it has to say about

  • the use of technology (e.g. smartphones and tablets) by both children and adults
  • the appropriateness of young children being employed within the workforce.
  • the complexity of the issue of adultery, and lies relating to paternity, contraception and pregnancy.

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