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Unfrosted

Unfrosted

Seinfeld's directorial debut is a fictional tale about how Kellogg's came up with the idea of the breakfast dessert Pop Tarts and Hegevall is so horribly, horribly bored...

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The old sitcom giant Seinfeld has really come into his own with several high-profile statements about both today's comedy and the film world and its terrible decline. No one is funny anymore, everyone is a politically correct left-wing wacko and Hollywood has effectively killed all the soul, charm and brains of what was once his favourite form of entertainment. Some of what he said during the marketing of his directorial debut Unfrosted has made sense. There is, of course, some truth in the fact that Hollywood today sees film almost exclusively as a way to promote products like Marvel, Transformers, the new Star Wars and everything in between, while I find it hard to see the statement about the decline of stand-up comedy as anything other than pure spin.

Unfrosted

It would be another thing entirely if Seinfeld first said that today's comedy is stale, stunted, cowardly and politically correct - and that the film world is dead in terms of creativity and heart, if he then backed up those opinions with a hell of an old-school comedy, drenched in razor-sharp references, sharp writing, well-written characters and humour that actually felt fresh and fearless. Unfortunately, with the Netflix film Unfrosted, he does none of that. He falls into tired old traps, time and time again. He offers what I would like to call ruminative, tired, lazy and flaccid comedy with no real reason to exist. In Unfrosted, Jerry Seinfeld becomes very much part of his own problem.

Unfrosted

Set in the roaring 60s, Unfrosted is a fictional made-up story about how Kellogg's invented Pop Tarts, that iconic American breakfast dessert that goes in the toaster. The film is marketed as a so-called "Corporate Biopic" but has nothing to do with the truth, really. Sure, according to the history books, there was tough competition at the time between breakfast cereal giants like Post, Quaker State and Kellogs, but the whole premise, the characters, the story itself and all the aesthetics built up like some kind of Edward Scissorhands-like, warped dream world drenched in 60s funkiness and maximum colour saturation - has absolutely nothing to do with the reality of what actually happened. Something that I find extremely, extremely bizarre.

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Unfrosted

As in the case of the Tetris film and especially the Blackberry film, Unfrosted is absolutely pointless for the simple reason that the filmmakers (in this case Jerry Seinfeld himself) aren't particularly interested in actually telling a celebratory story about what actually happened, but instead just make up some sort of imaginary chain of bizarre fairy tale incidents disguised as "based on reality" which both confuses and spoils. Why would I want to sit and watch a film about the breakfast wars of the 60s, focusing on Kellogg's as a company and their internal corporate culture, which is 99% fictional and so silly that it often feels almost absurd? Seinfeld traipses around Kellogg's departments, insulting colleagues, threatening to beat up the Rice Krispies mascots and trying his best to cheer up a grumpy Tony the Tiger (Hugh Grant) whose Shakespearean ambitions are hampering his seemingly mischievous mission to grunt in various black and white TV adverts. There's no value in this for me, especially when the thrown-together fake story is some kind of display of unimaginative surrealism.

Unfrosted

Moreover, it becomes painfully obvious in the intro that Jerry Seinfeld's greatest weakness as a comedian has always been his almost pitiful capacity as an actor. For as much as I laughed at Seinfeld, it was never ever at Jerry's character or the things he said. Because he wasn't naturally believable, good or funny on that show. It was George and Kramer who created the laughs for themselves and here, in Unfrosted, it never for a second looks like Jerry really means what he says. It's not helped by the fact that his mate and comedian Jim Gaffigan is even worse in his role as Kellogg's boss Edsel, or that the now improbably hackneyed Melissa McCarthy is only playing herself for the 100th time as the corpulent secretary Donna. The only thing that saves Unfrosted from our very lowest rubbish rating is the fact that Don Draper and Roger Sterling from Mad Men turn up to pitch the ad campaign for Pop Tarts and are so unpleasant that I burst out laughing. But it was only one laugh, in 93 minutes. The rest was mostly sighs and annoyed snorts, because this is a pure rubbish film.

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02 Gamereactor UK
2 / 10
+
Jerry Seinfeld is fresh and lively (obviously) but his long-awaited directorial debut should have happened 30 years ago and based on a much better script.
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Unfrosted

Unfrosted

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by Petter Hegevall

Seinfeld's directorial debut is a fictional tale about how Kellogg's came up with the idea of the breakfast dessert Pop Tarts and Hegevall is so horribly, horribly bored...



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