Burnt – Movie Review
Burnt – R
Release Date: Fri 30 Oct 2015
Bradley Cooper stars as Adam Jones, a washed up chef who burned bridges with all of his closest friends and kitchen staff on a long bender of drugs and alcohol. Burnt starts out years after this has happened with Jones coming out of self-imposed penance to try and start a new restaurant and gain a third Michelin star.
While Burnt has a similar setup of wrapping comedy and drama around a competitive chef, the food is notably sat in the back seat and used as props and missiles. Instead the story focuses on whether Jones can keep it together as he seems to be setting himself up for the same mistakes. He hires a cook that seems more like an inevitable romantic interest. He abuses a Maitre d’ (Daniel Bruhl) by forcing him to turn over his kitchen so that Jones can turn it into his own restaurant.
None of this is particularly bad, it’s just a sloppy story. It feels like watching a sequel to another movie as it never really flashes back to Jones’ reckless past. That feels a bit like cheating – as if the movie doesn’t trust you to like Bradley Cooper unless it mostly shows him being a charismatic guy.
The ending is worse, with a bunch of loose ends getting tied up without any agency from Jones. It also cops out from saying for sure whether he got his third star or not so it can try to please those unaware of just how impossible that is under the circumstances we’re shown. Burnt isn’t a bad date movie, but it doesn’t stand up to recent, similar movies like The Hundred Foot Journey and Chef.
Aaron, Cal, and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: