Review by Rich Cline | 3.5/5

dir Jerry Seinfeld
scr Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Feresten, Andy Robin, Barry Marder
prd Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Feresten, Beau Bauman
with Jerry Seinfeld, Melissa McCarthy, Jim Gaffigan, Amy Schumer, Hugh Grant, Max Greenfield, Peter Dinklage, Christian Slater, James Marsden, Bobby Moynihan, Thomas Lennon, Jack McBrayer
release US/UK 3.May.24
24/US Netflix 1h33

schumer grant greenfield

Is it streaming?

mccarthy, seinfeld and gaffigan
With a buoyant tone and an outrageously colourful early 1960s vibe, this comedy is packed with references to the silliest things about the period. Older viewers will enjoy these call-backs, while everyone will laugh at zany gags poking fun at anything from the Cold War to the January 6th insurrection. Loosely based on a true story, it's a relentlessly goofy, thoroughly entertaining pastiche of the randomness of pop culture.
In 1963 Battle Creek, Michigan, Edsel Kellogg (Gaffigan) and Marjorie Post (Schumer) have an ongoing rivalry for America's breakfast cereal market. Kellogg's marketing man Bob (Seinfeld) knows that whoever comes up with something new will win the war, and Post seems to have stolen Bob's research to develop a jam-filled pastry with a long shelf-life. So Bob turns to NASA snack expert Donna (McCarthy) for ideas. But they all need to contend with sugar cartels and head of the milk mafia (Dinklage). And whoever picks the right name will take the prize.
Yes, it's the story of Post's Country Squares and Kellogg's Pop Tarts. And while some running bits don't quite work, the film is loaded with witty touches, such as the celebrity "Taste Pilots" like exercise guru Jack Lalanne (a riotously energetic Marsden) and Chef Boy Ardee (Moynihan). Or the Madison Avenue advertising men (Jon Hamm and John Slattery, of course) working on naming this new treat. But because it doesn't have a mascot, Tony the Tiger (Grant) leads an army of furries to stage a protest.

There's a cavalcade of starry cameos in a range of roles, playing everyone from historical figures to cereal mascots. The entire cast is up for fun, somehow maintaining straight faces while gleefully hamming it up (the closing credits include both corpsing outtakes and an ensemble dance sequence). And among the sprawling cast, McCarthy steals the show by continually delivering the most hilarious throwaway punchlines.

"The magic of cereal is that you're eating and drinking at the same time with one hand," says Bob after a sexy Corn Flakes montage. Aside from the rather ridiculous satire about corporate competitive greed and the astonishingly unhealthy nature of popular foods, there's not much beneath the movie's boisterously bright-hued surface. The broadly amusing jokiness includes pointed gags that connect commerce with politics, naturally including the fact that it was Marjorie Post who built Mar-a-Lago. But the film is so glibly assembled that it's little more than rambunctious fun. Which isn't a bad thing at all.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 3.May.24

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© 2024 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall