‘The Menu’ Review: Weird, Dark, and Pretty Tasty

It’s fitting Anya Taylor-Joy is in a film about foodies, because she’s a damn snack!

“The Menu” follows a group of wealthy guests at a remote restaurant ran by Ralph Fiennes, only for strange things to begin to happen. Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, and John Leguizamo all star, while Mark Mylod directs.

I’m a fan of black comedy, but it has to be done well. It can’t be mean for the sake of being mean, but it also shouldn’t be too proud of itself. “The Menu” is not a hilarious or biting time at the movies, but it features some tasty performances and some witty-enough horror-comedy to be worth a watch.

Anya Taylor-Joy is seemingly in everything lately (this is her third film of 2022, as well as a half-dozen episodes of “Peaky Blinders”), and it’s a welcome sight. She just has a cool screen presence about her, and is able to portray cold while still being sympathetic.

Ralph Fiennes is always appreciated when he shows up, and here is playing a more-devilish version of his “Grand Budapest Hotel” character. There isn’t too-too much going on below the surface (though he does receive more development than everyone else), but he’s really fun as a chef with ulterior motives.

The script has some amusing lines, as well as some (fairly basic but still clever) pokes at foodies and snobby culture of social elites. It’s an Adam McKay/Will Ferrell production, so you get the satire and jokes that come with those two men, respectively, though I do wish it leaned into the dark humor and/or thriller aspects a bit more (I can’t say exactly why things felt underwhelming without getting into spoiler territory).

“The Menu” likely won’t become a cult classic, but it moves along quick-enough and the cast seems to be having a nasty little time with the material. If you like your comedy dark (through not so black it’s burnt) then I’d say this is worth checking out, even if it’s not quite worthy of all three Michelin stars.

Critics Rating: 7/10


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