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Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘laugh-free’ Unfrosted slammed by critics as ‘one of decade’s worst movies’

Despite an appearance from Hugh Grant as Tony the Tiger, reviews of Seinfeld’s directorial debut aren’t great

Kevin E G Perry
Friday 03 May 2024 18:35 BST
Jerry Seinfeld says he took a note from 'Jaws' in new movie 'Unfrosted'

Jerry Seinfeld’s directorial debut Unfrosted, a feature-length comedy telling the story of the birth of the Pop Tart, has been eaten for breakfast by critics.

The film, which also stars Melissa McCarthy, Jim Gaffigan, Hugh Grant, Amy Schumer, Max Greenfield, Christian Slater and Bill Burr, was released on Netflix today (3 May).

It has been savaged by critics including Barry Hertz of The Daily Globe and Mail, who called the film “a distressingly laugh-free affair” and likened it to a “long-lost Lorne Michaels-produced SNL feature from the ’90s” with “jokes so hacky that Kenny Bania wouldn’t touch ’em, and the pacing so slow it rivals Elaine’s experience enduring The English Patient.”

Richard Roeper of The Chicago Sun-Times was similarly damning, going so far as to call Unfrosted “one of the decade’s worst movies”.

Roeper expressed his surprise that “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”.

He continued, making reference to last year’s Flamin' Hot film about the origin of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos: “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.”

Melissa McCarthy, Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan in ‘Unfrosted’
Melissa McCarthy, Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan in ‘Unfrosted’ (Netflix)

Donald Clarke of the Irish Times concluded his two-star review by writing: “Oh, well. Perhaps the best response to junk food is junk cinema.”

Meanwhile Nick Schager, of theThe Daily Beast, said the film was “as bad as you’d expect” but offered that it is at least “superior to Seinfeld’s prior cinematic offering, 2007’s animated Bee Movie”.

Bee Movie, which Seinfeld wrote but didn’t direct, is about a bee (voiced by Seinfeld) who falls in love with a human woman.

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Other critics were more forgiving, with The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw opining: “As a whole, it’s not exactly a masterpiece, but amiable and funny in a way that’s much harder to achieve than it looks.”

Ty Burr of The Washington Post awarded the film 2.5 stars out of 4, saying: “Unfrosted may be the Platonic ideal of the Netflix movie: ephemeral, edible, enjoyable, forgettable.”

On reviews aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, Unfrosted currently has a score of 40% from critics and 48% from audiences.

Earlier this week, The Independent’s Adam White argued that Seinfeld was wrong to claim that the “extreme left” is ruining TV comedy, writing that it’s not only a ludicrous statement, but ignores the fact that comedy – including his eponymous sitcom – has always navigated when a joke goes too far.

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