I finally saw Jon Favreau‘s Chef today…one of the last press guys on the planet to do so. (The Wall Street Journal‘s Joe Morgenstern, Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir and grumpy Lou Lumenick were at the same noon screening.) I had gotten an impression from speaking with Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn that Chef is negligible fluff, but it’s too engaging to be dismissed as such. It’s basically a celebration-of-good-fortune movie…a celebration of perfect, scrumptious art-food (the cooking and serving shots are to-die-for), of clever guy humor and pothole-free narrative charm, of Favreau’s acting and writing skills (as well John Leguizamo and Robert Downey, Jr.‘s)…okay, it’s fluff but it’s very tangy and alive and well-constructed fluff. It never once reached in and got me in that deep-down place, but I never felt the least bit irked or antagonistic toward it. It’s a nice easy cruise, this film. There’s really no substantial reason to put it down with any passion. In fact, Chef is so well crafted and engaging and satisfying that I forgot about the weight issue that I’ve mentioned once or twice. I still say that if Downey had Favreau’s role instead of a cameo, Chef would be that much more engaging. Because it would be. There’s something about a guy with a weight problem that goes against the basic grain of escapism, which is what this movie is basically selling. But I forgot about it. Or at least, it didn’t get in the way. Coming from me, that’s a serious compliment. Cheers also to costars Sofía Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale and Dustin Hoffman.