AFTER HIS RECENT Serious Actor stage and movie triumphs, Bradley Cooper turns to lighter fare in Burnt, the story of a hot chef.
His character is hot as in celebrated, and hot as in Bradley Cooper.
Who can blame him?
After playing "The Elephant Man" every day for several months on the West End, it doesn't hurt to serve up a heaping helping of handsome in a movie like "Burnt" to remind audiences that Cooper is a dish.
He eats raw oysters, lapses into French and walks around in a towel a lot. Though he's put on a few pounds since "The Hangover," I did hear someone in the preview audience use the word "yummy."
This is Coop Classic, and it serves a need. Women who showed no interest in "American Sniper," despite his excellent performance, have made inquiries: What about "Burnt"?
Well it's slick and utterly predictable in a way that probably won't matter much to fans who want to see Cooper play arrogant and irresistible, a volatile bad boy reformed by the love of a good woman (Sienna Miller), a not-so-good woman (Alicia Vikander) and a therapist (Emma Thompson).
Cooper plays Adam Jones, a former chef-of-the-moment in Paris who succumbed to drugs and booze and self-regard, and three years later attempts a comeback in London, a city strewn with the human wreckage of his Paris meltdown.
Nonetheless, charming Adam convinces former associate and hotel manager (Daniel Bruhl) to give him another shot. He recruits a rising talent (Miller) and a buddy (Omar Sy) he once betrayed and tries to make the restaurant a three-star Michelin Guide attraction.
The food looks great, the cast looks great, the dialogue is reasonably snappy, and the movie is happily shameless: "Burnt" has no problem pausing to have Chef Awesome cook a special birthday cake for the curly-haired daughter of Miller's character, an overwhelmed single mother (In "Jerry Maguire," there was a pejorative term for this maneuver).
If you don't go into diabetic shock, you will still be conscious at the end, when Adam realizes that he can't do it all alone, that he's part of a team, that if he treats people decently, he'll be treated decently in return.
And the food might even taste better.