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'Unfrosted' Review

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May 3, 2024
Hunter Friesen
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We’ve had a lot of corporate biopics over the past year; Air, Tetris, Flamin’ Hot, Pain Hustlers, BlackBerry, The Beanie Bubble, and Barbie (it still counts) just to name a few. And while they’ve ranged from really good to state-run propaganda, they’ve all lacked the one critical thing that separates the greats from the classics: a burning desire to care. Sure, I love basketball (I write this in a euphoric state as my long-suffering Minnesota Timberwolves are finally making a playoff run) and there’s a bit of a compelling underdog story to Air, but how much can I expect myself to care when I know the story ends with everyone making billions of dollars? What sort of satisfaction was I supposed to feel in Tetris when Taron Egerton outsmarts the evil monopolistic businessmen, only for his company to eventually become the same sort of corporate behemoth decades down the road?

In steps Jerry Seinfeld to the director’s chair for the first time ever. The man behind the famously titular “show about nothing,” is here to do the opposite of what everyone else has been feigning over the past year. Be honest, do you really need to know the story of how Pop-Tarts came into existence? If so, is that information worth two hours of your life? Of course not! So let’s break the mold of these stodgy rags-to-riches-to-greed biopics and stop pretending to care about the “truth” behind the products that run the world.

The race for space has been replaced with breakfast toaster pastries in Unfrosted. Kellogg’s and Post, both located in the “Cereal City” of Battle Creek, Michigan, have their sights set on being the first to the market. Team Kellogg’s is comprised of product specialist Bob Cabana (Seinfeld), CEO Edsel Kellogg III (Jim Gaffigan), and lab whiz Donna Stankowski (Melissa McCarthy). Across the road at Post is Marjorie Post (Amy Schumer) and her beleaguered second-in-command Rick Ludwin (Max Greenfield).

It’s weird to say a biopic’s best quality is its disregard for reality, but that’s exactly the kind of strength that Unfrosted proudly wears on its sleeve. This is the kind of movie where the now 70-year-old Seinfeld plays a typical suburban dad with two young kids and someone says, “Pack your bags. We’re going to Moscow!” and then they’ll be there the very next scene. Quite a few people perish along the way to perfecting the Pop-Tart formula, prompting one of the funniest lines from a now-widow, “Why did my husband die!?! Isn’t this a cereal company!?!” Seinfeld’s response? A slight shrug.

There is a very distinct SNL feel to the whole thing, which only gets increasingly accented with each SNL cast member cameo (Fred Armisen, Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett, Bobby Moynihan, Darrell Hammond, etc.). Jokes are flying a mile a minute, most of them feeling as if they were written the week of filming and there wasn’t enough time to fully workshop them. There are some classic Seinfeld zingers and wordplay, but nothing to the extent of what he’s produced before. I guess that’s to be expected when a screenplay has four credited writers (Seinfeld, Spike Feresten, Andy Robin, Barry Marder).

Hugh Grant as a pretentious Laurence Olivier type who plays Tony the Tiger is often a riot. McCarthy and Schumer are pretty much going through the motions, which still makes for a few decent bits. It’s all a farce that makes for an inoffensive 90 minutes on Netflix. Watch it, or don’t. I don’t think Seinfeld himself really cares, and I don’t think anyone else will either. It’s definitely the lesser of two evils when compared to the forced reverence we’ve been experiencing in this ever-growing subgenre.

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'Unfrosted' Review

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