Monday, October 19, 2020

Movie Review: "Eat Wheaties!" (2020)

Movie still for the comedy film "Eat Wheaties!" (2020), starring Tony Hale, Elisha Cuthbert, Robbie Amell, Paul Walter Hauser, Alan Tudyk, Sarah Chalke, and Lamorne Morris
(Image Source)
Movie"Eat Wheaties!"
Director: Scott Abramovitch
Year: 2020
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

There will be times in life when you're going about your day, and you run into someone from your past, like a high school acquaintance or an old college pal. Most of us briefly acknowledge the other person and do the half-friendly half-morbidly-embarrassed nod/sup-head-lift/semi-wave because we fear the awkward "catch-up-conversation" that inevitably follows. In the age of social media, former friends and acquaintances find each other on sites like Facebook, requesting friendships that are mostly limited to a "like" here and a "happy birthday" comment there. Sid Straw (Tony Hale), the lead character in writer/director Scott Abramovitch's "Eat Wheaties!" (2020), is in a league of gauche all his own. Sid goes out of his way to seek out life's awkward conversations, whether he does so knowingly or not. In fact, his whole life (and pretty much every interaction he has) is an embarrassing conversation. When Sid finds an old college buddy on Facebook, he's ready to share his life story with her, even when said college buddy just so happens to be a celebrity, someone like, say, Heather Locklear...no, no, someone more relevant: Elizabeth Banks. He sends her a quick friend request, then goes on to have several very personal, very one-sided, very public conversations with her Facebook wall. Since Sid is an older guy who is a bit out of touch, he isn't aware that all these posts are visible by everyone who comes across her page, and his "letters" to Elizabeth eventually send his life spiraling out of control.
Elisha Cuthbert and David Walton have dinner with Tony Hale in a movie still for the film "Eat Wheaties!"
(Image Source)
"Eat Wheaties!" (2020) is based on author Michael Kun's book "The Locklear Letters," which we wanted to seek out immediately after the film ended. We can't imagine how much more cringe-worthy content is packed in the book because the movie is chock full of it. Sid is a very oblivious person who tries a little too hard at everything he does. His slightly bizarre, aggressively friendly, borderline desperate nature and lack of personal and social filters are very off-putting to most of the people he interacts with, and we as the audience sense the uncomfortable feelings the recipients of his conversations experience. The secondhand embarrassment sets in early and often, and we repeatedly found ourselves slapping our faces and burying our heads in our hands while watching Sid carry on a chat with a coworker, extended family member, or romantic prospect. Come on now, none of us are perfect. We've all said, "you too!" after the ticket taker at a movie theater told you to "enjoy your movie." We've all sent a stupid tweet, or a silly text, or a dumb Tinder message...but how would you feel if your words went viral? Scott Abramovitch does a stellar job putting the audience in Sid's shoes as his online posts end up having real-life consequences. As the film moves along its runtime, it becomes apparent that the screenplay is not solely about its facepalms. There's a lot of sweetness, heart, and soul here, too, and by the movie's end, we felt satisfied with the pile-on-to-sincerity ratio.
Tony Hale and Paul Walter Hauser star in the 2020 movie "Eat Wheaties!"
(Image Source)
We laughed a lot during "Eat Wheaties!" (2020), even when we wanted to bang our heads against the wall while yelling, "Dude! What were you thinking?!" every time Sid did just about anything. Tony Hale was the perfect choice to fill this role as he has had a storied career playing uncomfortable, slightly abrasive characters like Gary Walsh from "Veep" and Buster Bluth from "Arrested Development." The film also boasts a terrific supporting cast, including Alan Tudyk, Sarah Chalke, Elisha Cuthbert, Danielle Brooks, Lamorne Morris, Robbie Amell, and one of our favorite newcomers, Paul Walter Hauser, who has been phenomenal in every movie we've seen him in. The only real "criticism" we can think of is that this feature is a bit formulaic and fairly predictable (and no, we haven't read the book). It might not be genre-defying, but it has enough charm, laughs, and excellent performances to make it worth the price of admission.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: ---/10
RT Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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