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Scott Abramovitch
Tony Hale, Elisha Cuthbert, Danielle Brooks
Writing Credits:
Scott Abramovitch

Sid Straw's life unravels as he tries to prove that he was friends with a celebrity in college.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1/16X9
English Dolby 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 6/15/2021

• 5 Deleted Scenes
• Previews


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Eat Wheaties! (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 27, 2021)

Probably best-known as Selina Meyers’ loyal “bag man” Gary on Veep, 2021’s Eat Wheaties! grants Tony Hale a shot at a lead role. Don’t expect him to leave his comedic home base, though.

In his youth, Sid Straw (Hale) attended the University of Pennsylvania, and he finds himself excited that he gets to help organize a class reunion. As it happens, Sid attended at the same time as actor/director Elizabeth Banks, and he dated one of Banks’ sorority sisters at Penn.

Sid becomes obsessed with the possibility that he could get Banks to attend the reunion, and he goes over the line with his attempts to reach her. Though he meant these inquiries in an innocent manner, his messages come back to haunt him and send him down a windy path.

That synopsis probably makes Eat sound more like a serious drama than a broad comedy. Suffice it to say that the film shoots for laughs, with socially inept sad sack Sid as the primary butt, though it also aims for a bit of pathos.

Via Veep and Arrested Development, Hale usually specializes in awkward roles. This means Sid ends up in his standard wheelhouse.

While Hale’s characters work well as supporting parts, they become less entertaining when cast in the lead – or at least that becomes the case for Sid. Though the movie wants us to empathize with Sid, this seems nearly impossible.

For most of Eat, we see Sid as almost impossibly clueless. He comes across as a buffoon so dim-witted it seems difficult to imagine he gained admittance into Cecil’s Junior College, much less an Ivy League school, and his behaviors feel more like “creep” than “lovable loser”.

Sid seems so awkward and weird that he becomes unsympathetic, and that feels like a fatal flaw for this movie. Eat wants us to connect to Sid, but we never find that as a possibility due to his irreparable oddness.

Via his much more normal brother Tom (David Walton), Eat tries to explain that Sid used to be pretty normal but various circumstances changed him. This seems like a weak attempt to rationalize Sid’s strangeness, and it doesn’t work.

Honestly, Tom’s expository discussion feels like a reshoot attempt to fix this major problem with Eat. I get the impression the filmmakers eventually realized how little connection the audience made with Sid so they threw out this two-bit explanation to correct this issue.

It doesn’t work. Sid remains so obnoxious and impossibly weird that nothing will make the audience bond with him.

Of course, Eat eventually tries to turn the loser into a winner, as the movie changes course as it goes. Though Sid remains absolutely oblivious to his strange, creepy behavior, he suddenly does a 180.

This feels like much too much of a curveball, and it becomes impossible to accept that Weird Creepy Sid suddenly morphs into a likable, self-aware success story. Eat never earns Sid’s growth, as he magically fixes his problems with nary a real-life justification.

All of this leaves Eat as annoying for its first two acts and trite and unbelievable for the rest. Even with a nice cast, the end result just doesn’t work.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Eat Wheaties! appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture never excelled, but it was acceptable for SD-DVD.

Sharpness was usually fine. Wider shots tended to be a bit soft, but those instances weren’t extreme, and much of the flick offered decent to good clarity.

Shimmering and jaggies were minor and edge haloes seemed non-problematic. Print flaws were non-existent, as I detected no specks, marks or other blemishes.

The film’s palette opted for a clear amber tint, with some teal as well. Within that design range, the colors seemed passable if bland.

Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, but shadows showed reasonable smoothness. Nothing here did much to impress, but this was a watchable presentation.

Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as we got a mix heavy on dialogue. Outside of a few scenes that featured environmental elements, speech dominated.

Effects remained minimal and didn’t add much to the production. Music worked better and used the speakers well.

Audio quality was positive. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good clarity.

Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a passable mix.

Five Deleted Scenes span a total of four minutes, 55 seconds. These tend to extend existing scenes, though we get a few new tidbits. None of them seem memorable.

The DVD opens with ads for Skyfire, Senior Moment and Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street. No trailer for Eat appears here.

Given a fairly talented cast, Eat Wheaties! offered some comedic promise. However, its lead character seems too off-putting for this to become a winning film. The DVD offers more than adequate picture and audio but it lacks substantial bonus features. Eat disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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