Melissa McCarthy is back in the kitchen. Instead of donning her Sookie chef's coat, she is diving into the world of competitive cooking. In Cook Off!, she stars as Amber Strang, one of the kooky amateur home "chefs" hoping to take home the million dollar grand prize at the Van Rookle Farms Cooking Contest. The movie is a 'mockumentary', similar to "The Office".
The camera follow Strang and the rest of the hopefuls as celebrity judges and 'local celebs' (comedian Louie Anderson is the mayor) descend on a hotel convention center to watch the contestants rise and fall, all the while the mysterious costumed Muffin Man mascot lurks on the sidelines. Cook Off! is essentially doing for cooking contests what Best in Show did for dog shows. The movie premiered at the Comedy Arts Festival in 2007, way before she stole the show as Megan in Bridesmaids and then Susan Cooper in Spy.
In the hilarious trailer, we see a frizzy-haired McCarthy at the stove cooking up a giant marshmallow-topped mess, with her bare hands. "I'm making a sweet potato," she excitedly tells an on-scene reporter. "Which is technically a vegetable." She dashes and darts around the kitchen slapstick style, encountering some of her competitors along the way.
And they're pretty funny too. Cathryn Michon stars as a sex toy saleswoman (and is also the films director), Gary Anthony Williams (The Internship), Niecy Nash (Claws), Mo Collins (MADtv), Diedrich Bader ("The Drew Carey Show"), Jennifer Elise Cox ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") and Jim Rash ("Community") are all eager cook off contestants or supporters of one. They share the screen with Sam Pancake and Wendi McLendon-Covey ("Reno 911"), who also co-wrote the script.
Just in time for the holidays, Cook Off! will finally receive an on-demand and limited theatrical release November 17th.