Movie Review: Burnt

Because this is a short review and I cannot think of a clever introduction related to the subject of cooking, I would like to begin by explaining why I am not going see Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse:

When a movie knows what it is, be it good, bad, or fun, it tends to imbue a strong sense of irony that lets you know it does not take itself seriously to the point of self-deprecation. A lot of films do it right like the Underworld series, the first two Mummy movies, Doomsday, and a majority Vin Diesel’s filmography. Those are fun titles I enjoy watching because they enjoy having fun themselves. But there are some ironic movies that are so ironic they give off an air of self-importance, a false sense that they are funny because they are making fun of thing they are about. This arrogance can be found in the Transformers series, Adam Sandler movies, and when I saw it on full display in the trailers for Scout’s Guide, my immediate reaction was an eye roll, followed by a loud “Fuck right off.”

It is perfectly fine to be ironic and parody the zombie genre, but if you are so blatant without any sense of creativity, do not bother trying. Every funny bit Scout’s Guide might do is one I will see coming because it looks that lazy. Maybe it will turn out better after release and I am just being a snob. That remains to be seen after I post this and look up the reviews. Oh, and I will not be seeing Our Brand is Crisis either because I find Sandra Bullock insufferable as an actress. It is no offense to her as a person. I just do not like her or her movies.

Anyway, how was Burnt?

After three years of a self-imposed exile, Adam, played by Bradley Cooper, returns to the business of gourmet cooking to earn his third Michelin star at a new restaurant. He assembles a team of other chefs and puts them through their paces with his intense personality and high standards.

Burnt is Aloha if it were not directed by an ass-hole. What makes it an ideal redemption story is how we actually see the protagonist behaving like a prick before the moment where he learns to change. We come to understand through his behavior and exposition that he is a very unlikable person with many enemies that have good reason to hate him. We are given no reason to like Adam and it is not long after his introduction we would rather see him fail than succeed. But as he opens up to other people and learns from his mistakes, we come to sympathize with his character and appreciate it when he does something good. That is how you do a redemption story, Cameron Crowe.

Git gud, scrub.

If Paul Walker did not exist (oh, wait), Cooper would be the king of average white guy actors. Except for American Sniper, I have never seen him play anyone other than himself, and that includes Guardians of the Galaxy. He is very unremarkable with his cool guy persona that does not elicit any kind of reaction from me. It seemed to work in Burnt because his character thinks he is best thing ever, but it was still a run of the mill performance. Daniel Bruhl was pretty decent as the restaurant owner Tony. I have not seen him since Inglorious Basterds and I would like to see what he does with Baron Zemo. Sienna Miller as the struggling mother and love interest Helene was also fine, but there was nothing to distinguish her or anyone else from each other.

Burnt is a simple movie that is not wholly remarkable or original and nothing sets it apart in narrative or filmmaking. While it is nothing special, the film is at least watchable. I did not hate it and it did not make me angry or bored. If you have a desire to see something new this week, Burnt will do. There are, however, better movies still playing like Sicario, The Martian, Bridge of Spies, and Steve Jobs if you want something more.


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