BURNT (4 out of 10) Directed by John Wells, Written by Steven Knight (screenplay), Michael Kalesniko (story), Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy; Rated R for "language throughout"; Running time 101 minutes; In wide release October 30, 2015.
For supposedly being a prestige piece, "Burnt" has more in common with the food the main character prepares: fussy, overwrought, self-important, and generally not a great value for your dollar. With Gordon Ramsay serving as a "chef consultant" on this film and Bradley Cooper channeling a lot of his vibe, it's likely that sitting at home watching two episodes of "Hell's Kitchen" would've been more entertaining.
Cooper plays Adam Jones, once Paris's hottest chef. But after a drug-fueled meltdown that betrayed his closest friends and co-workers and closed the restaurant, he's been in exile. Now back in London, clean and sober, he wants to go after that elusive third Michelin star that has eluded him.
In the time he's been gone, cooking has changed. Now fine cuisine is even more fussy, with most food being cooked in giant bags submerged in not quite boiling water. With Jones being known for his sizzle and his sear and the king of heat, he will have to up his game to compete again.
The film progresses exactly as you think. His inner demons haunt him, his past comes back to haunt him, old rivalries continue to drive him. And it's all just so predictable.
It's not unwatchable. But for a movie about food -- that is so pretentious about how good food can be -- there is almost zero food porn. Cooper is at least interesting, although this is hardly his best performance. And Sienna Miller is just kind of there in a completely bland and underwritten role that she tries her best to bring nuance and charisma to.
But this is just a disappointing meal. It's walking into a fine gourmet restaurant and walking out considering that you would have had a better meal at Applebees. At least, like with the gourmet meal, it comes in a small portion: only 100 minutes. So at least it's not long.
It is, however, boring and predictable and should have focused back on its key concepts and its techniques. Otherwise this is a lot of wasted talent and ingredients in something that could've been assembled better.
If this movie were food, I would not want to be on the end of a verbal berating by Adam Jones for the inspid and uninspired presentation and execution of this film.
4 out of 10