‘Burnt’ Review: A Slightly Undercooked Drama

By now we all know that Bradley Cooper is more than capable of playing an emotionally imbalanced screaming person and Burnt gives him another opportunity to do just that…while pretending to cook.

The film is a redemption movie of sorts about the unlikeable Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), a two-star Michelin chef who rose too fast and fell way hard…like hard enough to need to stay out of the entire city of Paris for his own safety hard. He finally cleans himself up and decides to try to get back in the game and go for his third star. As he gets back in touch with his old friends (and foes) in the business, we get a picture of the young man that he was through how he’s treated…and see the man that he’s become in how he treats others (spoiler alert: it’s not very nice).

In addition to turning to friends for help making the restaurant he blackmailed his way to the head of a success, he also scouted out new talent to join the team, one way or another. One of those ways being getting Sienna Miller’s Helene fired from her job. She’s the young, raw talent that ends up taking a good part of Jones’ abuse, but of course ends up falling for him because Bradley Cooper.

Aside from Adam Jones being pretty unlikeable throughout the film, his backstory also wasn’t compelling enough to make me feel anything for him…other than more dislike. The young, uber-talented chef that fell from grace because he was aware that he’s uber-talented? He was basically the Justin Bieber of the culinary world. Yeah, he should have been ashamed of himself.

Cooper and Miller are both talented actors, and you’d think that would mean that together something special would happen, this partnership is nothing like we’ve seen him have with other young, talented blonde Jennifer Lawrences actresses. I rooted for their characters to not hook up during any part of the film. I didn’t feel the chemistry between them romantically, but when they were in mentor-mentee mode, there were definitely sparks.

One of the most enjoyable performances in the film is Daniel Brühl as Tony, the maître d’and loyal friend of Adam’s (who also has a little thing for him as well). His character was probably the one with the most sense in the film and Brühl did a wonderful job of bringing that realization to Tony, with subtle expressions that were genuine and sometimes hilarious.

Uma Thurman and Emma Thompson are great as restaurant reviewer Simone and Dr. Rosshilde, both providing some comedic relief to the film and helping Jones along his journey to redemption. A little more of both of them wouldn’t have hurt the film, but I’m not sure how much it would have helped either.

The components of a compelling drama were all there. The cast was great, the writing solid, the characters were interesting…but for some reason the film ended up feeling a bit disconnected, a bit disjointed and (aside from Cooper’s meltdowns) a bit bland. If you’re looking for a new film to find this weekend, try a different dish.

Grade: C

Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company