Unfrosted Review

Kellogg’s boss Bob Cabana (Seinfeld) recounts an outlandish origin story for a revolutionary 1960s breakfast item: the Pop-Tart.

by Ben Travis |
Published on
Release Date:

03 May 2024

Original Title:


Hollywood’s recent predilection for depicting the invention of particular products has, so far, relied on demonstrating the gravitas of said product’s eventual existence: Nike’s Air Jordans in Air; the dawn of the smartphone in BlackBerry; Tetris in, well, TetrisUnfrosted, Jerry Seinfeld’s Pop-Tarts movie (yes, that’s a Pop-Tarts movie starring, directed, co-written and produced by Jerry Seinfeld) takes the opposite approach. It is, by design, extremely silly — an exaggerated parody of those tropes that ascribes history-altering importance to the creation of a fruit-goo-filled rectangle. For kids, Unfrosted argues, the arrival of the Pop-Tart was the most seismic cultural event of the ’60s; Seinfeld himself was one of those kids.


His feature directorial debut, then, is a madcap, candy-coloured retro romp through a cereal civil war, as breakfast rivals Kellogg’s and Post tool up to take first place in the toaster-pastry revolution. There is a small grain of truth in there (the companies really did battle over Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts and Post’s Country Squares), but Seinfeld eschews facts in favour of a fructose-syrup screwball farce. Unfrosted’s bare-bones plot provides the basis for a cameo-stacked succession of skits and bits, as the food industry’s brightest minds assemble to dream the impossible amid a deeply unserious world of milkman syndicates, sugar cartels, and a computer that can predict people’s deaths. One subplot involves the creation of a sentient ravioli. Think Oppenheimer in Anchorman’s clothing, and you’re on the right track.

Seinfeld wisely sets the film up as a joke machine, playing more like a series of sketches than a conventional movie.

That rampant ridiculousness is channelled into a Space Race-style series of experiments and test-launches — mileage on whether the results are breezy fun or gratingly zany will inevitably vary. But while the gags are scattershot, they are frequent. Seinfeld wisely sets the film up as a joke machine, playing more like a series of sketches than a conventional movie, rarely letting the pace dip, refusing to get bogged down in boring irrelevancies like ‘the truth’. Seinfeld leans into his usual gregarious persona; Melissa McCarthy brings sparky energy as brainbox ‘Stan’; Hugh Grant plays a lesser version of his Paddington 2 icon Phoenix Buchanan in the role of Shakespearean actor-turned-Tony The Tiger, Thurl Ravenscroft; Jon Hamm makes a genius cameo that we won’t spoil.

Whether or not the jokes connect (a funeral attended by sombre cereal mascots is the film’s most inspired highlight), it’s Seinfeld’s sincerity that just about holds Unfrosted together — a love not just for Pop-Tarts themselves, but what they meant to kids like him. As a result, this isn’t just a Pop-Tart movie — it’s a movie Pop-Tart: no nutritional value, but sweet and warm to the last bite.

If Pop-Tarts are barely a breakfast, Unfrosted is barely a movie — but it’s sprinkled with solid gags, stuffed with super-silly guest appearances, and lovingly glazed in sweet ’60s trappings.
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