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Burnt (2015)


I used to work in a restaurant. The worst the chefs did was race the lobsters on the floor before boiling them to death. Here? Not so much. Chef. Adam Jones. Burnt. They couldn’t decide what to call this and Jon Favreau’s funny cooking film used the first one. Was this supposed to be a comedy? About a narcissistic egomaniacal sexually irresistible angry violent drug addict running a Michelin-starred kitchen? I barely trust injecting junkies to record music. And I don’t have to eat anything they’ve touched. So Bradley Cooper (sporting his French) winds up in London to make amends with everyone he screwed over in Paris (they’ve all taken the pre-Brexit Eurostar) to get a third star in Daniel Bruhl’s hotel (the Langham, if you want to avoid it). He’s spent the interim shucking a million oysters in N’Oleans. It’s like assembling a gang for a heist. Except it’s not that good but we know they’ve all got a bone to pick with him. Maitre d Bruhl is in love with him. Of course he is! Emma Thompson is the psychotherapist drug testing him every week passing messages from Bruhl. Very professional. And he hires Sienna Miller whom he wants to turn into another version of himself, an angry perfectionist – who also has to fall in love with him because she’s a divorcee with a sassy kid. And her revolution in his kitchen is boil-in-the-bag fish to seal in the flavours (I’m afraid a certain frozen food company got there before her). Matthew Rhys is the rival chef going crazy in another restaurant while they clamour for critical acclaim. Uma Thurman is the Lesbian food critic (and she’s good.) But dialogue reveals that even she hasn’t been capable of resisting him.  There are a lot of cooking montages. A former girlfriend and fellow cleaned-up junkie Alicia Vikander turns up. She’s the daughter of the restaurateur whose place he screwed up. She used to be in love with him. Quoi d’neuf?! His debt collectors turn up the night they think Michelin men have arrived.  Adam Jones has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. There is a lesson learned but it’s too much to regurgitate. This is what could be called an equal opportunities offender. Mercifully it’s just 96 minutes long because whatever director John Wells and screenwriter Steven Knight (from a story by Michael Kalesniko) had in mind it didn’t make it through the editing. Or, worse – maybe it did. This is Cooper trying to re-make Kitchen Confidential – which was cancelled on the small screen. (You’re an actor with producing chops so you ask yourself:  would Beatty/Redford/Cruise make this? No!)  I worry in hospitals that I need an AIDS kit to test the doctors who don’t wash their hands and splash blood everywhere. Now restaurants too? Definitely not for vegetarians. I’ve lost my appetite.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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