Bradley Cooper started the year strong with an Oscar nomination for “American Sniper.” Then his career took a nosedive with the disappointing “Aloha.” Now he can add a second one in the form of “Burnt,” a new movie about the passion and dangers of opening a successful restaurant and perfecting culinary arts.
Instead of a movie that should offer us a soufflé of satisfaction, we get a concoction of conventionality.
Cooper stars as Adam Jones, a disgraced former chef who leaves the United States and makes his rounds in London and eventually Paris to give himself a second chance at opening a new restaurant and pursuing his ever-elusive third Michelin star.
Jones’ career was sabotaged by his constant drug use and irrational behavior on the job. Emma Thompson co-stars as a doctor trying to help him maintain his sobriety.
He finally opens his restaurant and recruits old comrades to help run the place. However, old habits die hard when he demands that his cooks be on the same level of perfection as he is. Cooper does score a moment or two that will no doubt make Gordon Ramsey proud.
Sienna Miller stars as his new love interest who plays a hand at attempting to give him stability and a chance at redemption. Could this movie be any more formulaic? I think I just answered my own question.
“Burnt” does give a few moments when the cast is trying to elevate the material whenever possible, but they still can’t escape all the trappings of this screenplay. It also features an uneven tone and a supporting performance from Uma Thurman as a British restaurant critic who has only one scene. I think her character should’ve been stretched and created a potential love triangle, even though that would add to further formula.
I didn’t hate the movie, but I wanted it to try more and go further.
It bears repeating, instead of a script that gives us a five-star meal from a gourmet restaurant, we’re left with something from McDonald’s. Don’t take that as an insult. I love McDonald’s.
(Rated R for language throughout.)