Le Chef Michaël Youn, Jean Reno, Raphaëlle Agogué. Directed by Daniel Cohen. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday.
The foreign movies that make it to American theaters tend to be either highbrow art films or pulpy genre exercises, but every so often we get a glimpse at the foreign equivalent of a dumb mainstream comedy. If it were made in Hollywood, Le Chef might feature Owen Wilson instead of French comedy star Michaël Youn as aspiring chef Jacky Bonnot, who gets the chance to work with renowned celebrity chef Alexandre Lagarde (Jean Reno). The old-fashioned Lagarde is at odds with his ruthless corporate boss, while Jacky needs to prove to his pregnant girlfriend (Raphaëlle Agogué) that he can be a responsible provider. The mild conflicts are easily resolved via mild comedy (one painfully unfunny and horribly insensitive yellowface sequence aside), and the whole thing is as insubstantial and flavorless as one of the newfangled molecular dishes that Lagarde so vehemently despises.