Burnt is an uninvolving redemption story of a jerk, no thanks to its underbaked story, paper thin characters, and predictable plot.
Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) had it all – and lost it. A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different every time out, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive Michelin star though, he’ll need the best of the best on his side.
After the cancellation of Kitchen Confidential after only four episodes, Bradley Cooper is casted as another skirt-chasing, drug addicted and alcoholic but supposedly talented chef in Burnt.
Cooper has been good at turning jerks into likeable characters ever since The Hangover, making his character believable enough. The rest of the cast also did well.
Unfortunately they’re efforts are wasted on a lazily written screenplay about the redemption of a jerk.
It’s not clear why orphan turned Michelin studded Adam Jones fucked up his life. There are only vague references to what happened in Paris involving the usual rock star cliches – sex, drugs, alcohol, betrayal and eventual fall from grace.
As a result we’re not really sure what he’s being redeemed from. More importantly, his road to redemption is as bland and cookie cutter as mediocre Hollywood studio features come. All the characters are just props – the women as proof of his bad boy charms and fix the bumps along the way while the men temporarily complicate his life and surrender to him eventually. Case in point, It Girl Alicia Vikander drops in as the hot ex only to pay his drug debts while rival Reece easily accepts defeat and reassures his genius. The plot takes its predictable course as all Adam Jones really has to do is just do what he’s already doing – stay sober and cook – and life will just eventually fall into place.
Burnt is able to portray the ultra high competitive nature in the restaurant industry and the kitchen scenes do look authentic thanks to editing and consultant Marcus Wareing. However, there’s no genuine story to make it all come together.
Burnt is another lesson that Hollywood never learns – expensive ingredients and fancy preparations don’t always make a satisfying meal.