Review by Camden Ferrell
Eat Wheaties! is a new comedy film that had its premiere at the 2020 Calgary International Film Festival. Based on the 2005 novel, The Locklear Letters, this movie marks the directorial debut of Scott Abramovich. While there is a quirky charm surrounding the movie, it ultimately underwhelms and feels repetitive in its story and performances.
Sid Straw is an eccentric guy in living an unremarkable life. He finds himself named co-chair of his college reunion, and he subsequently stalks and obsesses over Elizabeth Banks online, who he claims was his college friend. His life spirals out of control as he tries to prove to the people in his life that he knows a celebrity. It’s a really unique premise that has a lot of potential for comedy and absurdity.
The script, by Abramovich, runs with this premise and he doubles down on the silliness of all of it. It’s commendable, but the premise quickly turns into a gimmick that becomes too much of a crutch throughout the film. There are a handful of funny exchanges, but a lot of the scenes can come off as too cheesy for some tastes. It’s a script as unconventional as its premise, and it feels very niche.
The film features a well-known and talented cast who are unfortunately misused throughout. Tony Hale leads the film as Sid, and he is a naturally funny and zany actor, and this shows in his performance. It’s charming at first, but it slowly becomes repetitive as the movie progresses, and the character doesn’t allow for too much range. The supporting cast, consisting of actors like David Walton, Paul Walter Hauser, and Elisha Cuthbert, has a few nice moments, but they are mostly forgettable.
Stylistically, the film comes off as a little cheap. The cinematography and lighting feel uninspired, and the music and other elements don’t do much to contribute to the ambiance of the film. As a whole, the movie has a few things working in its favor. There are a handful of funny moments, a great premise, and a niche brand of quirkiness. However, it is weighed down by a repetitive treatment of the story and performances that do not stand out as these actors’ bests.
Eat Wheaties! could very well reach cult status in the coming years due to its absurdity. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t live up to the potential of its outrageously funny narrative. It shows some comedic promise for Abramovich as a director, but it also feels quite forgettable at times.
Eat Wheaties! is in theaters and on VOD April 30.