Should You Watch ‘Unfrosted’ on Netflix Starring Jerry Seinfeld and Melissa McCarthy?

The Jerry Seinfeld Pop Tart Origin Comedy, Unfrosted, is now streaming, but should you give it a watch?

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Unfrosted Netflix Movie Review Should You Watch

Picture: Netflix

Writing & starring in his first feature film since the animated Bee Movie in 2007, Jerry Seinfeld is back in the movie business with Unfrosted, his directorial debut comedy that takes on the great pastry race of the 1960s and the creation of the Pop Tart as depicted in Seinfeld’s pop tart stand-up bit from several years ago.

Co-written by former Seinfeld writers Spike Feresten and Andy Robin alongside Bee Movie screenwriter Barry Marder, Unfrosted centers on the town of Battle Creek, Michigan, the home of two breakfast cereal giants: Kellogg’s and Post. In this reality, Kellogg’s is crushing the competition under the leadership of Edsel Kellogg III (comedian/actor Jim Gaffigan) and his idea man Bob Cabana, played by Seinfeld himself. Sales are soaring and all the cereal-based awards are going their way.

Life is being served up on a silver spoon until the discovery that their chief rival Post, under their leader Marjorie Post (comedian/actor Amy Schumer), has developed a shelf-stable pastry that could change the breakfast game forever. In order to survive this newly waged war and stay on top, Cabana and his newly assembled team of early 60’s inventors and cultural icons – Chef Boy Ardee, Ice Cream mogul Tom Carvel, bicycle giant Steve Schwinn, fitness legend Jack Lalanne, Sea Monkeys creator Harold von Braunhut, and a defunct IBM computer – will have to race to not only crack the code on the breakfast pastry, but also get it on the shelves and into family’s homes before Post takes over breakfast for good.

Much like the revelation of Pop Tarts themselves, Seinfeld hoped that the flashiness of the big-name cast packaging would entice any Netflix viewer on the fence about watching a major incentive to give it a try. Frankly speaking, that is what drew me in. How could it not? Released in the same week as the star-studded “Netflix Is A Joke Festival”, Seinfeld enlisted almost as many stand-up comics & comedic actors as Netflix did for their festival. Beyond the already named Gaffigan and Schumer, the overstuffed cast includes SNL alums Fred Armisen, Darrell Hammond, Sasheer Zamata, Bobby Moynihan, Beck Bennett, Mikey Day, and Kyle Mooney; stand-ups Bill Burr, Cedric The Entertainer, Earthquake, Kyle Dunnigan, Sebastian Maniscalco, Aparna Nancherla, and Twitter/X God George Wallace; along with megastars of comedy and film Melissa McCarthy, Hugh Grant, Peter Dinklage, Christian Slater, Tony Hale, Max Greenfield, Patrick Warburton, Thomas Lennon, Jack McBrayer, and many, many, MANY more.

Stated by Seinfeld himself, he saw all the “sad faces” on his TV during the pandemic and wanted to make something purely silly to change that equation. While Unfrosted may not take itself seriously for many obvious reasons and definitely attempts at being silly, the unfortunate reality of the film is that you can only make a silly concept go so far when you don’t have the characters or the stakes to justify it. Simply put, it’s just not funny or compelling enough to care.

Unfrosted Jerry Seinfeld Netflix Comedy Preview Hugh Grant

Picture: Netflix

Seinfeld took an extremely strong bit from his standup, a joke only he can do so well, and stretched it in every way possible. Unfortunately, the ways he stretched them feel like a relic of a bygone era of 90s sitcom writing (not the good kind like Seinfeld, ironically) or gimmicky 90s films that flashed back to the 50s, 60s, and 70s with a pop culture, surface-level lens that shows how things have advanced and how much simpler times used to be.

Unfrosted feels so removed from the present yet timeless, quirky yet catchy situations and characters of “Seinfeld” that didn’t have to rely on the reality outside to make it work. This film feels like a barrage of sight gags, referential humor, and cameos that lose their flavor almost as soon as they are uttered. Unfrosted practically suffers from the same disease as many of the 90s/early 2000s SNL character-based films that seem more like a string of abandoned sketches put together more than something more elevated or well-constructed.

Of course, the movie does have its stronger bits and star turns. Hugh Grant as Thurl Ravenscroft, the debonair English thespian inside the Tony the Tiger mascot costume, and Kyle Dunnigan as the playful yet woefully depressed interpretation of Walter Cronkite wakes us up from some of the flatter, uninspired character creations.

Unfrosted Jerry Seinfeld Netflix Comedy Preview

Picture: Netflix

A lot of the stronger jokes and sight gags landed earlier in the film. Gaffigan’s Kellogg is reading the newspaper and saying, “Oooh. Vietnam. That seems like a good idea.” The Cereal Awards Show with the “Best Use of Niacin” and the ultra-silly “In Memorium” segment. The spies on the inside using an actual film camera attached to a mop to do surveillance on their enemies. All of these seem like classic, sarcastic Seinfeldian humor and I was here for all of them.

However, many eye-rolling or unnecessary spots occurred as well. The Sea Monkey Ravioli becomes sentient in their teen years. Fred Armisen doing whatever that was. Bill Burr’s JFK (for the most part). These and many more just simply don’t connect or much worse.

Overall, Unfrosted ironically lacks the frosting on Seinfeld’s overcooked concept. No amount of star power can overcome a plot stretched way too far & characters and bits that don’t carry the weight. Much of the early runtime has the best jokes and sight gags, but the film stumbles to the finish as it seems even a fictionalized Pop Tart story can’t seem to hold its relevance. Only Jerry Seinfeld knows why this movie exists, but I hoped that it would have been funnier to not care about it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite cut it.


Watch Unfrosted If You Liked

  • Seinfeld
  • Bee Movie
  • Blast From The Past
  • The Goldbergs

MVP of Unfrosted

The Mad Men Cameo

As the success of the Pop-Tart is as much a marketing victory as it is a breakfast revelation, noted Mad Men fan Jerry Seinfeld thought it would be proper to have a couple of Madison Avenue boys take a crack at bringing Kellogg’s fruit pastry to life.

While it may have taken some of the audience out of the movie to have two iconic TV characters, I welcomed the sight of Don Draper and Roger Sterling (Jon Hamm and John Slattery) taking a crack at marketing a fruit pastry in the 1960s with a silly, slanted, and sexual take. “Jelle Jolie” and its Noir and Sensual companions will have much more staying power than many of the other jokes in the film. Hamm and Slattery easily slip back into their character’s tone and mannerisms and deliver the writing flawlessly.

2/5Bad
★★☆☆☆

Unfrosted doesn’t justify its incredible amount of comedic talent nor its almost 100 minute runtime. A silly concept stretched way too thin without the memorable characters to fill in the gap. Hugh Grant, Kyle Dunnigan as Kronkite, and a Mad Men reunion can’t elevate this Covid era pitch.

Written by

Andrew Morgan is a film critic & podcaster with 20 years of experience on the sets & offices of film & television. Current podcast host of the entertainment review show, Recent Activity. He lives in the Northeast of the United States.

 Poster Rating: PG-13
Language: English
Genre: Biography, Comedy, History
Director: Jerry Seinfeld
Cast: Rachael Harris, Melissa McCarthy, Hugh Grant
Added to Netflix: May 3rd, 2024

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