“Unfrosted” is like a big bowl of Frosted Flakes. Very little nutrition value, despite all the Riboflavin. Too much of it could rot your teeth. It will also bring back, however, warm memories of your childhood, when sugary cereals and silly comedy movies were all you needed to feel happy.

The Netflix movie marks Seinfeld’s directorial debut. Spun off from one of his stand-up comedy routines, the comedian also co-wrote the screenplay with Spike Feresten, Barry Marder and Andy Robin.

The movie stars a Who’s Who of comedy players. Besides Seinfeld, Melissa McCarthy plays a NASA engineer lured back to Kellogg’s by Seinfeld to help develop a tasty pastry-slash-cereal toaster snack. McCarthy’s energy, paired with Seinfeld’s non-acting style of acting, is a perfect headliner combination.

Jim Gaffigan plays the top Kellogg’s executive out to keep the big K on top of the cereal mountain. Amy Schumer plays his nemesis, the big boss lady at Post Cereals. Her second in command is played with his usual fussiness by Max Greenfield (The Neighborhood). That the two actual cereal giants signed off on all of this suggests that their various executives either have a sense of humour or that cereal sales have taken a dramatic nose dive and desperately need a boost.

There is one genuine movie star in this mix: Hugh Grant plays Thurl Ravenscroft, the man who was the memorable voice of Tony the Tiger. Grant does pissy Prima donnas well; in this movie, “heee’s GREAT!”

In support are a deep bench of former Saturday Night Live players, including Kyle Mooney (Snap), Mikey Day (Crackle) along with Drew Traver (Pop), Bobby Moynihan (Chef Boyardee), Beck Bennett and Fred Armisen. Look hard enough and you’ll spot Christian Slatter as a milk man. Jon Hamm and John Slattery slip back into their Mad Men characters. Bill Burr does a surprisingly good John F. Kennedy impersonation. (His suggestion for a cereal name: Jackie-Os.) Dean Norris is unrecognizable as Nikita Krushchev. Jack McBrayer, Cedric the Entertainer, Dan Levy, Sebastian Maniscalco, James Marsden and Thomas Lennon are in on the goofiness. Peter Dinklage, Tony Hale, the list goes on and on.


In its review, Rolling Stone notes all the ensemble names in the cast and calls “Unfrosted” “the ‘Oppenheimer’ of food-based comedies.” (They also threaten to sue if that observation in used in any pull quotes for the movie.)

Full disclosure: “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Man World” — made around the same early ’60s era as Seinfeld’s movie is set — is, in my opinion, 18 hours I will never get back. A lot of big names do not make a classic. “Unfrosted” is not a classic either, but it pushes all my boomer buttons. I loved scenes showing the cereal mascots at the Kellogg’s commissary. If you are outside this demo, feel free to select something more filling and nutritious.

Hugh Grant as the voice of Tony the Tiger: cereal killer

This is, after all, based on the development of an actual cardboard-y toaster snack, the Pop-Tart. The whole Kennedy-era was a special time to be a young, cereal-chomping boomer such as Seinfeld and, well, me. There were no cell phones back then, so you had to read the back of the cereal boxes for entertainment and those colourful, cartoon-y packages rarely let you down.

Neither does this movie, really. It moves fast, like the sugar coursing through your system after a bowl of Froot Loops or Sugar Smacks. You may feel a bit high in spots, and/or queasy later, but you will laugh.

There are echoes of Mel Brooks zaniness, although with less of the wit. The films of Mike Myers may also come to mind. A funeral scene where the various marketing characters such as Snap, Crackle and Pop pore milk onto a coffin, which floats to the surface, must have seemed funnier in the writers room. There is also a startling reference to the Jan. 6 insurrection that will invoke a nervous laugh or two thanks to a sugar-induced coma. “Unfrosted” is less a satire than an attempt to demonstrate that anything can be loaded into the comedy cannon.

I could have done without the scenes of CBS news anchor legend Walter Cronkite (Kyle Dunnigan) reporting on the cereal wars; it pushed the right ’60s buttons, but I kept waiting for the bit to be funny.

Two of the best performances in the movie come from the two youngest actors: Bailey Sheetz and Eleanor Sweeney. Jumping into Post dumpsters in search of delicious Pop-Tart “goo,” these youngsters steal every scene they’re in from the comedy all-stars.

Approach this movie as you would a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. Know going in that the sugar high will likely give way to deep remorse. “Unfrosted” is simply a silly movie that will make you laugh — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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