Review: Unfrosted, Netflix

 Unfrosted is streaming on Netflix now.  Picture: Netflix
I didn't rush to watch Unfrosted, directed by and starring Jerry Seinfeld, for a number of reasons. The star/director has said and done a few things recently that I don't entirely agree with and I didn't want to watch something that might sully the reputation of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time (Seinfeld, of course). But also because I thought Unfrosted was a children's film.
But putting aside all of those other reasons, if Unfrosted is a kids film call me a big kid. It is strawberry jam-packed with gags, plenty of which will delight youngsters, but it also works on a very adult level with gags very much aimed at parents – and given the nostalgic element of the 1960s-set plot, parents of a certain age.
Unfrosted tells the story of the invention of Kellog's Pop Tarts with Seinfeld telling the story to a runaway kid he meets in a cafe at the start. Even that scene is apparently a homage to painter Edward Hopper though I've got google to thank for that gag that even went over my aged art-loving head.
It's a classic tale of dog-eat-dog big business rivalry treating the development of breakfast snacks as if they are the moon race or Oppenheimer builting the atom bomb. Everything is taken very seriously, or, in other words, very stupidly.
Bob Cabana (Seinfeld) is the brains behind the operation, joined by Kellog's family boss Edsel played by comic Jim Gaffigan and Stan Stankowski (Melissa McCarthy), whose previous job was actually with NASA. Their dastardly rivals, Post, are led by Marjorie Post, played by Amy Schumer. So you can see there is no shortage of comic talent involve. And this is just the start.
Along the way the jokes fly thick and fast. Sometimes sophisticated, sometimes plain stupid. Hugh Grant follows up his self-mocking turn as an Oompa Loompa in Wonka with a peach of a part as a disgruntled Shakespearean thesp reduced to playing Tony The Tiger in ad campaigns. And look out fo a double cameo with an ad campaign presentation led by two original stars of Mad Men.
There are so many side gags and sight gags it is sometimes hard to keep up. Peter Dinklage pitches in as a sinister milkman, while an almost unrecognisable Bill Burr plays JFK. The comedy isn't just rooted in the 1960s though. The brilliant denouement includes a parody of the January 6 assault on Capitol led by Grant and a gang of children's mascots.
If there is a fault it's that the film does feel very American and some references might be a little obscure for English audiences. There's a brilliant plot twist involving Silly Putty but it helps if you can remember what Silly Putty is. And a running gag involves a radical American bicycle, which, I would guess if there was an English remake would be a Chopper. 
But missing a few gags is a small price to pay because there are so many zingers that will have you chuckling. Like The Simpsons or Toy Story, Unfrosted will have you grinning from start to finish. To use the phrase that Hugh Grant accidentally coins, it's Grrreeeat.  

Unfrosted is streaming on Netflix now.

Picture: Netflix 


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