Critics Have Seen Unfrosted, And They Have Strong Opinions About Jerry Seinfeld’s Pop-Tart Origin Story

 Melissa McCarthy as Donna Stankowski, Jerry Seinfeld as Bob Cabana and Jim Gaffigan as Edsel Kellogg III hide behind bags of flour in the Netflix movie Unfrosted.
Melissa McCarthy as Donna Stankowski, Jerry Seinfeld as Bob Cabana and Jim Gaffigan as Edsel Kellogg III hide behind bags of flour in the Netflix movie Unfrosted.

After Jerry Seinfeld starred in his eponymous sitcom Seinfeld — famously, a show about nothing — for nine seasons, there’s something fitting about the comedian making his feature directorial debut with a movie based on the origin of the Pop-Tart. The new comedy Unfrosted is now available to stream with a Netflix subscription, but critics had the chance to screen it early so as to better help us decide if we want to pop our favorite breakfast pastry in the toaster and fire this movie up this weekend.

Unfrosted stars Jerry Seinfeld alongside an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Grant — strangely, in his third role as an orange character of late — Melissa McCarthy, Jim Gaffigan, Amy Schumer and literally dozens of other recognizable names. In CinemaBlend’s review of Unfrosted, Mike Reyes says that while the movie doesn’t come close to an accurate depiction of the Pop-Tart’s origin story, it’s still “inspired comic anarchy.” Reyes rates the film 4 out of 5 stars, writing:

Unfrosted plays like a Saturday morning cartoon for grown-ups, and it invites the idea of viewers enjoying their favorite breakfast pastry while indulging. Nothing is taken for granted, with Jerry Seinfeld proving himself to be a directing talent that knows how to keep a movie on track even when the humor goes off the rails. It won’t take long for any potential decenters to know if this movie’s not for them – but at a time when people like to lament 'they don’t make ‘em like they used to,' Unfrosted features a high level of confident chaos.

Liz Shannon Miller of Consequence grades the movie a B, writing that the quasi-biopic feels like a true labor of love for Jerry Seinfeld, who appears to be simply a comedian having a good time with other funny people as they create something truly absurd. Miller continues:

What’s fun about comedy is that not every bit hits the same way for everyone — personally, I probably laughed the hardest at writer Kyle Dunnigan’s strange yet note-perfect impression of Walter Cronkite, but other viewers will have their own favorite parts; there’s certainly no shortage to pick from. And it’s a good-looking movie, too, popping (sorry not sorry) visually, with costumes, production design, and cinematography all working together to deliver a brightly-colored, nostalgia-drenched spin on the 1960s that trades realism for absurdity.

Comedy is certainly subjective, and that’s blatantly demonstrated here, as Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper fails to find any redeeming qualities within Unfrosted. He gives the movie just 1 star out of 4, pulling no punches as he labels it “one of the decade's worst movies.” In Roeper’s words:

I’m surprised that director/co-writer/producer/star Seinfeld, one of the sharpest and most observant comedic minds of his generation, didn’t halt production halfway through, call time of death and apologize to everyone for wasting their time. Unfrosted is so consistently awful it makes the aforementioned Flamin’ Hot seem like The Social Network. If there was a thing called the IMDB Witness Protection Program whereby you could get your name taken off the credits of a particular project, this would be that project.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire gives Unfrosted a D, saying that Jerry Seinfeld et al. try a million different ways to make the pastry wars feel like life or death, rather than just focusing on one good way to do it. So many absurd things are happening that it ultimately feels like a movie about nothing. Ehrlich explains:

All told, Unfrosted is the cinematic equivalent of a kid mixing every cereal from his parents’ cupboard into a giant salad bowl with the hope that a splash of milk will magically blend the various flavors into something palatable. Except that tends to work out pretty well, while this is just a wet mess of high-fructose corn syrup with a new Meghan Trainor song slapped over the end credits dance-along (a perfect match of music and image).

Brian Eggert of Deep Focus Review is baffled at how such a talented cast could come together to produce such a stinker. There are no laughs to be found here, Eggert says, scoring the movie a 1.5 out of 4. The critic writes:

Drawing from his decades of telling jokes about breakfast food, Seinfeld and his three longtime collaborators (Spike Feresten, Andy Robin, Barry Marder) wrote this zippy screenplay full of characters who have almost no identity outside of the comedian playing them. The narrative functions as a joke machine, churning out one quip and visual gag after another. However, in the 93-minute runtime, I only chuckled maybe twice and didn’t experience a single hearty laugh—you know, the baseline expectation of a comedy.

The critics are certainly split on this one, with Unfrosted receiving a Rotten Tomatoes score of 44% from more than 40 critics. Jerry Seinfeld’s brand of breakfast-inspired comedy was definitely not some critics’ cup of coffee, but others have embraced the absurdity of it all. If you want to give this one a shot, it is available to stream now on Netflix. Also be sure to see what else is new and coming soon to Netflix.