Part-Time Review: Unfrosted (2024)


The might sound odd to say, but I think most comedy is better suited to other mediums than film: live shows, nightly tv, sitcoms, etc. Unfrosted is a perfect example of how funny ideas (often smart and layered ones) combined with funny individuals (legends even!) doesn't guarantee a funny movie without a genuine feel for the uniqueness of film comedy.

Unfortunately Unfrosted feels likes a good 5 minute SNL sketch idea stretched out with lots of bad SNL sketch ideas to fill 90 minutes. The idea of a surreal and farcical take on the war between Kellogg's and Post to create the first commercial breakfast pastry is a good one and the writers go to creative lengths to fill out this universe. While much of this likely worked on paper and in small doses, it just doesn't hold up as a comedy FILM.

One of the greatest faults of bad comedy films is that the jokes and their setups come first, the story and characters second. Unfrosted is filled with paper thin characters who bounce from joke line to joke line but have little connective tissue as human beings. This works in a five minute sketch, but over 90 minutes we need characters we care about. Due to relentless character quipping, none of our main characters are all that likeable. Seinfeld, Gaffigan, and McCarthy are essentially our hero leads, but they wind up uninteresting jerks - why should I care that they reach their goals?

The film is stuffed with references acting as jokes: pop culture, 1960's history, and even Seinfeld show/standup easter eggs. Some work, some don't, but when it takes precedence over a story with characters you care about, they get cringe-inducing quickly. It isn't long before you realize there's really just one joke here - isn't that silly? Isn't it silly that Walter Cronkite and JFK says odd things, isn't it silly the milkmen are mafia, isn't it silly that kids are eating outta garbage cans, isn't it silly the mascots are like the Jan 6 riot, and so on.

My favorite sitcom of all-time is Seinfeld, I think Jerry is likely my favorite stand-up of all-time, and I think Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a perfect comedian talk show format. Unfortunately, Jerry has never shown an ability (or desire really) to understand the differences and needs of the comedy film medium. Unfrosted is just another example of it.