Unfrosted review | As artificial as the breakfast pastry at the heart of it

unfrosted review
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Jerry Seinfeld makes his directorial debut with a surreal, silly tale behind America’s favourite breakfast food. Here’s our Unfrosted review. 

The first time I learned about the existence of Pop Tarts was from Gilmore Girls. They were a staple with Rory and Lorelai and I begged my mum to get them from our local supermarket’s international aisle. 

I popped one in the toaster and eagerly waited for the tasty, fruity explosion to happen in my mouth. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. All I could taste was artificially sweet, weirdly ambiguous fruit filling and a stale, crumbly biscuit. 

The experience of watching Unfrosted, Jerry Seinfeld’s ode to Pop Tarts, was frighteningly similar. 

Seinfeld stars as Bob Cabana, Kelloggs’ head of development, who is in charge of keeping rival breakfast food company, Post, from beating them as America’s favourite breakfast food manufacturers. When Bob gets word that Post is about to create a groundbreaking new breakfast pastry, the competition is on. 

You might expect Unfrosted to be in the vein of recent films like BlackBerry, Air or Flamin’ Hot, but Seinfeld and co-writers Spike Feresten, Barry Marder, and Andy Robin have very little interest in anything that really may have happened. Instead, Unfrosted is a highly surreal, weird and occasionally funny fairytale, told by Bob to a young kid at a diner. 

The film also has a ridiculously starry cast. Melissa McCarthy plays a NASA scientist who, for some reason, joins the Kelloggs team, while Amy Schumer plays the head of Post. There are more actors, but if I listed them all here, this review would balloon to roughly 2000 words. Let’s just say that there are some really great actors playing bit parts with no real relevance to the story, but also a few delightfully joyous cameos. 

One actor I will mention, though, is Hugh Grant. The actor has recently switched his specialty to comedies with a scene-stealing turn in Paddington 2 and of course, last year’s Wonka. Here, he plays Thurl Ravenscroft, the actor behind Tony The Tiger’s mask. 

Grant gamely overdoes it as Ravenscroft, but whereas his over-the-top performance was charming in Paddington, a film which nailed the tone it was going for, it’s mostly distracting in Unfrosted. In fact, most things in the film are distracting. As Seinfeld attempts to spoof the corporate biopic formula, Pop Tart facts are thin on the ground here, which brings up a vital question: why bother making Unfrosted in the first place? If there is a point to the film, I must have missed it.

Seinfeld mixes in a lot of seemingly random subplots. There’s a milk syndicate, a possible Nazi, an explosion and some dumpster diving. Seinfeld clearly goes for a wacky tone, but seems to have overdone it: with this much eccentric silliness, it all falls bizarrely flat. Unfrosted, above all things, is a bit dull; it lost me about halfway through and I could not get back on board despite my best efforts.

Maybe I’m the problem. Maybe I just couldn’t tune into the film’s wavelength – but I needed more.

unfrosted amy schumer
Credit: Netflix

As a director, Seinfeld shows no signs of knowing when to reign it in and when to let his cast loose. Chris Hemsworth recently revealed that he was somewhat disappointed in his performance in Thor: Love And Thunder, but it was really Taika Waititi’s job to control and guide him. It was Seinfeld’s job here to be the captain of the ship, but the comedian is not interested in any kind of narrative pay-off – just cheap, quick laughs. 

There’s a boldness that is admirable in Unfrosted, a desire to stand out from a sea of other corporate origin stories, but there’s simply too much going on here. The gag reel over the end credits ends up being far funnier than anything in the film itself. 

Unfrosted is now available on Netflix. 

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