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“Eat wheat!  Review: Chasing Ms. Banks

With his first film, “Eat Wheaties!”, Scott Abramovich fought for the kind of cast that most first-time directors dream of: a who’s-who of TV comedy that includes Tony Hale (“Arrested Development”, “Veep”), Elisha Cuthbert, Lamorne Morris, Sarah Chalke and Alan Tudyk. But what Abramovich does with such a range is an unfortunate mess and no fun.

Hale plays a sad office worker named Sid Straw who, while hosting his class reunion at the University of Pennsylvania, first creates a Facebook account and becomes obsessed with contacting his former classmate: the Hollywood star Elizabeth Banks. (Its supposed college slogan, “Eat Wheaties !,” informs the headline.)

Too much of the film’s fundamental joke goes to Sid creating a Facebook account – a digital concern that seems outdated from the get-go. In real life, Sid has the kind of uncomfortable presence that makes this squeaky comedy cringe and no comedy. His inability to read social cues puts him in hot water when his incessant and desperate – and very public – wall posts about Elizabeth Banks go viral, triggering a restraining order from Banks’ team and a dismissal from his job.

Sid brings in the cheapest – and most incompetent – lawyer possible (played by Paul Walter Hauser, the movie’s little highlight) and ultimately re-establishes his reputation as a nice, albeit clumsy guy. But in reprising the character of Sid, the film misses out on, and perhaps even approves of, online harassment disguised as “well-meaning” conduct, which most women on social media, including me, are probably familiar with. .

Eat wheat!
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 28 minutes. In theaters and on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. Please review the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies in theaters.

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