4 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 84 minutes
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Crying over spilled milk may be a toddler-thing but really, grown men weeping over broken sugar sculptures????

Leave it to husband and wife, DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (The War Room) to show us that this and worse does afflict normal, successful, full-blooded guys… in real life. In their newest documentary, Kings of Pastry we sweat through 84 minutes of torturous, M.O.F.-building calisthenics as 16 predominantly male pastry chefs compete in Lyon, France for confection’s highest honor.

This must be a joke, right??? And what on earth is M.O.F.?

No, this is not a joke, in spite of the spoofy, Maddinesqe musical-score.
The Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsmen in France) is a century-old, deadly serious 3-day juried event that comes around every 4 years. Pastry chefs worldwide, clamor to take part in this contest of contests, though only 16 candidates are invited and only a few will win. Furthermore, it’s not just the contenders that take the award seriously, so too, French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who presides over the festivity with the intensity of a man gasping for his last breath of air.

The film highlights three chefs: Jacques Pfeiffer (co-founder of The French Pastry School in Chicago), Regis Lazard (Maison Pic) and Philippe Rigollot (anM.O.F. returnee), as they strive for the coveted medal of excellence and prized jacket with hued collar of France’s flag.

All in all, the documentary style, camera moves and cuts are neither notable nor exciting. Furthermore, with all the culinary/reality shows glutting prime time T.V., do we really need to see a documentary of the same ilk?

Resoundingly, YES— even if you detest baking! Far too often, viewers are so duped by exterior fluff like celebrities and CGIs that they completely miss the crux and content of a film. In the case of Kings of Pastry, the simple, personal story of three featured chefs competing in the world is about as disturbing, comical and universal as any could be.

First Run Features’s Kings of Pastry is currently in theatrical release and can be seen at a theater near you.

This review was originally published on September 14, 2010

Posted on September 16, 2010 in Reviews by

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