A lot has changed for Melissa McCarthy in the past decade: She was once slumming it in support, many of her roles relegated to television, but she’s since become a bona fide star who commands astronomically high box office numbers. But there was an early, little-known film that let her show off her leading lady chops: 2007’s Cook-Off!.
The film, directed by Cathryn Michon and Guy Shalem, originally screened at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival but was subsequently shelved, going without a proper theatrical release for a decade. Earlier this week, though, Lionsgate Premiere released the trailer for the film, which they’ve decided to roll out in theaters nationwide and through video-on-demand on November 17.
Cook-Off! is an R-rated mockumentary that concerns the fictional Van Rookle Farms Cooking Contest, styled after competitive cooking competitions that attract amateur home cooks from across the country. They’re all characters with a capital C, ravenous for the $1 million prize and the fame it would give them.
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Releasing the film now is a shrewd move: McCarthy's star is brighter than ever, and the cultural appetite for watching cooking competitions hasn’t exactly waned since Michon and Shalem made this film. Maybe Cook-Off! was worth the wait.
Cook-Off! will be released in theaters nationwide and Video on Demand on November 17.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.