Judge Clark Douglas is cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
A tasty tale of love and war!
Neal (Aaron Stanford, The Hills Have Eyes) manages a cereal shop called "Flakes." In this shop, he sells cereal. That's it. That's enough for him. However, his girlfriend Miss Pussy Katz (Zooey Deschanel, The Happening) is not content. She wants Neal to improve his life, get a better job, and make more money. When her attempts to talk him out of his restaurant job fail, she determines to completely ruin his career. A new cereal shop has opened just across the street, and so far it has been struggling. Miss Katz is determined to change that. She's going to put Flakes out of business by making their competitor wildly successful. Their business conflicts escalate into personal conflicts, and soon they're going to crazy extremes in order to win this insane competition.
The best thing about Flakes is the title character. What a terrific restaurant it is! The business has every sort of cereal currently available, and a few rare "out-of-print" cereals, all available to anyone at anytime of day. It's a cross between a bar and a comic book shop, with an unavoidably colorful design. The patrons of this shop are all a rare breed of geeky cereal enthusiasts, chattering away about Battle Creek trivia. It's a wonderful place that I highly recommend. Oh, wait…it doesn't exist. Boy, I wish it did.
During the first half-hour of Flakes, I enjoyed meeting a lot of the supporting characters. They all enter the scene with a creative batch of quirks that were surprisingly refreshing. My favorite was the performance of Christopher Lloyd as the baffled store owner, wandering around spewing various cereal-related ramblings. The early portion of the film feels like something from an exceptionally good Kevin Smith movie, and I was looking forward to seeing where things went.
Sadly, I don't have quite as much enthusiasm for the other two-thirds of the film, which is an unpleasant comedy in which a couple attempts to destroy each other using competing cereal shops. The film seems to find the idea of two people going to bizarre extremes to hurt each entertaining, but it's really just irritating. It might be better if the plans these characters come up were a little more inventive or interesting, but they're merely mean-spirited broad swipes. It's sad to watch this film slowly go down the drain. It starts as whimsical and entertaining, and ends as a giant mess. There is an argument scene in a restaurant that is just plain bad in every imaginable way. Oh, and predictably, it finds a way to end with a courtroom scene of sorts.
Perhaps the film's worst crime is that it manages to make Zooey Deschanel really annoying. By taking Deschanel's offbeat personality and unique sense of fashion and welding it to a character that is rather unintelligent, the results are…well, you can imagine. Aaron Stanford also loses track of his character by the film's conclusion, with most of his action during the film's final third slipping into the realm of senseless irrationality. Well, perhaps that makes sense for this character, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant to watch. Oh, and remember those fun supporting characters I told you about? The movie more or less abandons them halfway through, tossing any potential side laughs out the window. Flakes could have been a nifty offbeat comedy, but it ultimately becomes nothing more than an incredibly grating experience. Avoid this one.
The DVD transfer is fine, nicely spotlighting all that cheery set design. Sound is solid enough, but the very irritating soundtrack is cranked up a little too loud. The only DVD extras included are a few deleted scenes and a trailer. Guilty.
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