Cooper is best playing jerks.
He has always looked like a jerk, and he's totally believable as the imperious Jones.
One of my favourite scenes is where he scolds his underlings after they blow their big opening night.
With his cruel, vulpine eyes and his wide, predatory mouth, he really sells the snarling and snapping.
I've been on both sides of such encounters, I really enjoy the crackle of energy.
When people are passionate about their work, they can go a bit psycho.
In my opinion, this is how great work often gets done.
One gets the sense that the same exacting standards were applied to the film itself.
Intense, insightful and fast-moving, Burnt is a well-wrought picture.
I'm not a big fan of director Wells - I truly hated his 2013 family drama August: Osage County - but this veteran of film and television is obviously a total pro.
Plot is tight, characters are distinct and cinematography is unfussy.
I bought in to the narrative completely. By the end I was practically praying for Cooper's hateful chef to come out tops.
Maybe I was won over by that scene where he bakes a birthday cake for a little girl.
Manipulative? Yes, but that's okay. Sucker that I am, I was touched.
The question that really bugs me is this: Are chefs really that arrogant?
It seems like a foregone conclusion as everyone accepts Jones' unsavoury trait simply because "he's a chef".
When was shucking oysters considered hard labour and penance for the lives and businesses he ruined?
Because he's an acclaimed chef, everyone has to kowtow to him?
Despite the food porn montages and the messages about redemption and rehabilitation, Burnt is just one egotist's quest for more fame and adulation.
It's like an episode of reality TV series Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, except with more star power.
Cooper looks the part - barking orders and smashing plates. But he's no Gordon Ramsay, who has more charisma and wit.
It's not all Cooper's fault.
The script is so bland, ironic for a movie that revolves around cooking the most creative food resulting in "culinary orgasm".
Why pack the film with so much talent?
Miller is impressive but merely plays the requisite love interest. Same goes for Vikander, who is relegated to the pretty ex-girlfriend, while Brühl has a decent part that's never fully explored.
They are like garnishes - upping the visual impact but not quite adding to the dish.
STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Emma Thompson, Alicia Vikander
DIRECTOR: John Wells
THE SKINNY: Adam Jones (Cooper) is a two-star Michelin chef who loses it all after becoming a drug-addicted diva. After cleaning up his act, he tries to mend bridges, reclaim his reputation and seek that elusive third star with the help of his long-suffering friend Tony (Brühl) and protege Helene (Miller).
THE CONSENSUS: Guys will devour what Burnt is serving, but it may not go down as well with the female palate.
This article was first published on October 28, 2015.
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