[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Despite having Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansen, and Jon Favreau in the cast list, this is not an Iron Man or Avengers movie. Instead it's a sweet little comedy/drama that we enjoyed quite a bit.

Jon Favreau wrote, directed, and plays the protagonist, chef Carl Casper. Carl is off his game: divorced and poor, spending an inadequate amount of time with his 10-year-old son, Percy. He's the head of the kitchen at a trendy LA restaurant, but he's intimidated by the restaurant's owner (played by Dustin Hoffman). He admits that he and the restaurant are "stuck in a creative rut". Due to an ignorance of how Twitter works, he gets into a stupid flamewar with a restaurant critic.

There are lots of pressures on Carl's life, and it explodes when the critic comes to the restaurant. Carl's epic rant becomes a YouTube sensation. And he gets canned.

Low point. Fortunately, his wife (Sofía Vergara, because I guess they couldn't get Gwyneth Paltrow) is still fond of him, and asks him to come along on a business/pleasure trip to Miami with their son. Her ulterior motive is revealed: she's sweet-talked her previous husband (a hilarious cameo by Robert Downey, Jr.) into donating a beat-up food truck. It's an obvious set up for redemption. Will it work? No spoilers here, but if you can't figure it out, you probably don't see a lot of movies.

It's lots of fun. All the actors are top-notch. I really liked John Leguizamo, who plays Carl's assistant. Slight downside: you might want to pre-plan to go out for Cuban sandwiches after watching, because this movie might make you crave one.

Last Modified 2014-12-10 12:15 PM EST