Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story Review


Summary

  • Some great one-off jokes, and the cast shines with Seinfeld’s unique brand of humor.
  • Amy Schumer’s performance feels out of place amidst the laughs and wackiness.
  • Seinfeld’s quirky homage to pop culture nostalgia, while not deep, provides a delightful comedic escape.



Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story, Jerry Seinfeld’s quirky homage to his love of breakfast treats, is like devouring two big bowls of Frosted Flakes. It’s yummy, but it’s not as if all the nutrients will sustain you. If you can forgo the latter, and you enjoy extremely broad-style comedy, then Unfrosted will surely be a delight. Otherwise, this outlandish comedy, as fun as it is, tends to get weighed down by its own lampoonery.


Oftentimes, Unfrosted recalls those Saturday morning cartoons many of us watched while noshing on breakfast. Here, those outlandish characters and circumstances have emerged from the nether regions of the minds of first-time director Jerry Seinfeld, who co-wrote the outing with longtime Seinfeld collaborators Spike Feresten and Andy Robin, as well as Barry Marder (Bee Movie). In a recent MovieWeb interview, Feresten called Unfrosted, “a bigger, longer, Seinfeld episode.” That’s accurate. It’s much ado about nothing. But that’s what may ultimately win viewers over.

So will the comedic talents that Seinfeld lured into this: Melissa McCarthy, Hugh Grant, Amy Schumer, Max Greenfield, Peter Dinklage, Christian Slater, Jon Hamm, and countless others. If you love Easter Eggs, get ready to count them because references from The Godfather and The Right Stuff to a slew of favorite consumer brands fill up this tale. Bottom line: If It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Up There, and Seinfeld all crawled into bed with each other, the all-star offspring would be this quirky, 1960s-set misadventure, which is loaded with creative Ritalin and hypomanic hijinks. Dig in.


Unfrosted movie poster

Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story

3/5

Release Date
May 3, 2024

Cast
Rachael Harris , Melissa McCarthy , Hugh Grant , James Marsden , Christian Slater , Dan Levy , Jerry Seinfeld , Maria Bakalova , amy schumer , Bill Burr , Max Greenfield , Fred Armisen , Jack McBrayer

Runtime
1hr 33min

Writers
Spike Feresten , Barry Marder , Andy Robin

Pros

  • Some great one-off jokes
  • The majority of the cast does an excellent job
  • Reminiscent of Seinfeld at times
Cons

  • Amy Schumer’s performance feels out of place
  • There’s a lack of consistent comedy


It May Be Frosted but It’s Overtoasted

Welcome to Michigan, 1963. Bitter cereal rivals, Kellogg’s and Post, are racing to create a breakfast pastry that will revolutionize morning mealtimes. Who will pop up the best Pop-Tart first? That’s where Seinfeld’s Bob Cabana comes in. The ambitious Kellogg’s exec is encouraged by Edsel Kellogg III (Jim Gaffigan) to beat Post in this breakfast-war race. Bob soon teams up with former Kellogg’s ally, Donna Stankowski (McCarthy), who helps fuel the cause. Seinfeld and McCarthy are a nice pairing. Like cereal and milk, it’s a fine combo, with McCarthy offering the more grounded performance of the two.


Over in the land of Post, we find Amy Schumer’s matriarch, Marjorie Post, covertly plotting to take Kellogg’s down. Schumer’s trademark tongue-in-cheek deliveries are amplified here and her frequent scene partner, Max Greenfield, playing her floundering better half, Rick, can’t keep up with her fickle and twisted mind. Greenfield finds a nice groove and hits his comedic beats. Schumer plays it a bit over the top, which the script calls for, but there’s something off in the performance, and it doesn’t always sit well, especially whenever she’s barking at Greenfield’s Rick.

Seinfeld establishes that kind of frenetic ping-pong-match vibe from the beginning and most scenes employ that device. Ultimately, you realize that he’s serving us everything we’ve come to love about his Emmy-winning show, his brilliant stand-up musings, pop culture, and the popular stars that make us feel good. Schumer’s distinctly original wit, for instance. Greenfield’s frenetic buffoonery. Hugh Grant’s dry, sarcastic British humor.


3:21

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While we’re on Grant, the actor continues to enjoy a kind of comedic renaissance. He went from playing a devilish Oompa-Loompa in Wonka to stepping into the shoes of frustrated stage actor Thurl Ravenscroft here. Thurl is the voice behind Tony the Tiger, the celebrated brand mascot for Frosted Flakes cereal. Imagine Grant, as Thurl, trying to understand the inner workings of a commercial scene or not feeling as if he’s getting the respect he deserves. Hilarious all around.

Spoonfeeding the Audiences Everything It Wants


But the comedy’s midsection meanders. As Bob and Donna are pitted against Marjorie and her minions, the script spawns as much hilarity as possible, and guest stars are sprinkled into the mix. Because the movie takes place in the 1960s, you can see why Jon Hamm (Mad Men) might be a good addition here. Watch and enjoy that moment. A Milkman Mafia gives us Christian Slater’s Mike Diamond, who’s part of a greater dilemma that may impact Bob and his mission for Kellogg’s.

Snap, Crackle, and Pop — the guys from that beloved Rice Krispies cereal — filter in, played by Kyle Mooney, Mikey Day, and Drew Tarver, respectively. The Troika hopes to achieve Monkees-like stardom. But wait, there’s more. Bill Burr appears as JFK, Dan Levy as Andy Warhol, Bobby Moynihan as Chef Boy Ardee, Kyle Dunnigan as Walter Cronkite (and Johnny Carson), and James Marsden as Jack LaLanne. Kid spies? Unfrosted has them, too. The movie is jam-packed with countless stars and pop culture references.


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Seinfeld Is a Solid Director

A milkman played by Christian Slater and Jerry Seinfeld in the movie Unfrosted
Netflix

As a director, Seinfeld gets the job done. The production is shot in bright, colorful, splashy overtones. It was a happier time, before JFK’s death, and the country was filled with gleeful optimism. That’s captured that to winning ends. Seinfeld easily brings us into a looney world. The story is based on true events — Kellogg’s and Post did compete to produce a breakfast pastry, but the Milkmen Mafia and grumpy brand mascots weren’t part of the endeavor.


To be sure, this is a passion project for Seinfeld, and you can tell that he and all the actors are having a ball. What Unfrosted lacks in depth, it more than makes up for in outrageous subplots, one-off jokes, quirky encounters between characters, and references about the era, advertising and branding, and the kind of people Americans were before things became far too divided.

That said, maybe it’s not so bad to allow somebody as wildly entertaining as Seinfeld to spoonfeed us everything we like: outlandish, escapist comedy filled with familiar faces and crazy situations. This isn’t HBO’s Barry. Unfrosted isn’t designed to dive into the psychological underbelly of its characters. We’re meant to relish them and gobble up every last bit of insanity. Know that, and you’ll love Unfrosted. The truth is, we don’t often get quite such a hearty serving of Seinfeld, one of the best comedians in history. So, gobble him up. Indulge in this over-sweetened tale of ambition and betrayal. It will do just fine for a short-lived sugar high. Unfrosted streams on Netflix beginning May 3.




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