Combustible Celluloid Review - What You Wish For (2024), Nicholas Tomnay, Nicholas Tomnay, Nick Stahl, Tamsin Topolski, Randy Vasquez, Penelope Mitchell, Juan Carlos Messier, Brian Groh, Ariel Sierra
Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nick Stahl, Tamsin Topolski, Randy Vasquez, Penelope Mitchell, Juan Carlos Messier, Brian Groh, Ariel Sierra
Written by: Nicholas Tomnay
Directed by: Nicholas Tomnay
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 101
Date: 05/31/2024

What You Wish For (2024)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cook for Granted

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A lower-budget take on The Menu, Nicholas Tomnay's food-related thriller What You Wish For is a tad familiar and perhaps even predictable, but it still manages to throw in enough secret ingredients to keep things simmering.

Ryan (Nick Stahl) is a chef with a gambling problem and debt collectors after him. To escape the heat, he goes to an exotic Latin American country to visit an old culinary school pal, Jack (Brian Groh). Ryan is surprised at how lavish Jack's place is. Jack explains that he has taken a job cooking exotic meals for wealthy people, but hints that the work is not all it's cracked up to be.

After an unexpected turn of events, Ryan finds himself cooking the next meal in Jack's place, with the happy promise of a large, and much-needed paycheck. Unfortunately, it's not long before Ryan finds out just what Jack was talking about.

Written and directed by Nicholas Tomnay, What You Wish For relies heavily on its opulent mansion set and lush rainforest backdrops for atmosphere, and that decision works; the open, airy feeling nicely contrasts with the creeping suspense.

Stahl is another winning factor. Despite the fact that he never seems like a real chef (his chopping and omelette-making skills are rather average) he sells the role with a strong sense of desperation and urgency. And certainly the finished dishes on screen are gorgeous.

Ultimately, like The Menu, the movie is mostly about the push-and-pull between the haves and have-nots, the latter going to untold lengths to try and get ahead, and the former cruelly toying with the latter. To that end, the Detective Ruiz character (Randy Vasquez), who arrives during dinner and is unexpectedly asked to join in, makes a terrific wedge between the two, adding extra tension.

In the end, even if you can guess what What You Wish For has under its chef's hat, it still has a few more twists in the cupboard.

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