If you're out playing hooky at the movies, don't miss "Chef." (at the Palm.) But get there early. The matinee line was snaking around the front of the building and into the parking lot.
This charming indy prod and stars Jon Favreau as a famous chef whose life has come to a dulling dead end. Once the golden boy, cutting edge hot chef, he's now plodding along in Dustin Hoffman's restaurant dishing out dull old food, along with his two sous chefs (John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale) . When a blogging food reviewer (Oliver Platt) publicly trashes him, Favreau sends a reply in what he thinks is a private tweet.
One problem. It wasn't private, nor was his meltdown rant calling out the blogger in the restaurant, all of which goes viral. So, his job over, his life in shambles, he sets off with his tweet-savvy son and ex-wife to kick start his career, reclaim his life and family as the new owner of . . . a Cuban Sandwich "taco" truck.
Happy endings all around in this funny, sweet film.
At the other end of the universe, Tom Cruise, like Russell Crow and Kevin Costner, delivers a credible performance in an incredible story. All three of these guys manage the really difficult task of making the audience believe any amount of hooey because they believe, no matter how cockamamie the story is.
"Edge of Tomorrow" is the sci-fi version of "Groundhog Day," with Cruise and super warrior Emily Blunt trapped in an illusion created by alien invaders. These two were rendered special because some alien goo got on them so somehow they're able to figure out that they're trapped in this illusionary time warp. Every time they die they return to day one, again and again and again. Until, bit by bit, they "learn" and remember and inch forward on each re-do until the grand slam ending wherein the alien is defeated.
Luckily, this nonsense (It's one of those movies where you just don't ask.) is leavened by a great deal of wit, (Cruise and Blunt's training scenes -- and repeated bullets to the head -- is worth the price of admission. Add in great editing, excellent CGI work (the skittery aliens are suitably startling) and toss in both stars' skill at making us believe all this silliness, and you've got a thoroughly entertaining summer flick: A sci-fi flick with a sly sense of humor. Best kind.