Combustible Celluloid
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With: Aaron Stanford, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Lloyd, Frank Wood, Ryan Donowho, Izabella Miko, Keir O'Donnell
Written by: Chris Poche, Karey Kirkpatrick
Directed by: Michael Lehmann
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87
Date: 03/10/2007

Flakes (2007)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Man on the Spoon

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michael Lehmann directed the cult classic Heathers (1989) and has struggled ever since to click with audiences on the same level. His latest, Flakes, almost gets there. It starts by taking a cue from High Fidelity, with hipster Neal Downs (Aaron Stanford) working at a cereal bar, serving both classic and contemporary cereal and milk to equally hip patrons. His girlfriend Miss Pussy Katz (Zooey Deschanel) wants him to get on with his music career, but he's too involved in keeping the shop going. Characters spend lots of time sitting around and talking about cool stuff, like cereal and music, and it has a terrific, stimulating coffeehouse vibe. But then a corporate weasel (Keir O'Donnell) steals the idea and opens a high-tech, Starbucks-like copy across the street. Worse, Pussy Katz gets so fed up with Neal and his stubborn behavior that she takes a job with the competitor and attempts to bring down the original. This whole plot feels unnecessary, given the off-kilter relationship between Neal and PK, but oddly, the movie mainly falters in the presentation of the Neal character. He's self-righteous and holier-than-thou and never really comes to grips with his own fears and insecurities. On the other hand, the amazing Deschanel once again proves her astonishing ability to exist comfortably within a scene, as well as slightly above it. At least it's better than Lehmann's other 2007 film, Because I Said So. Christopher Lloyd plays the burned-out owner of "Flakes," constantly ranting about the Kellogg brothers. It's an InDigEnt production.

DVD Details: IFC Films released the DVD after a practically non-existent theatrical release. It comes with deleted scenes and a trailer.

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