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★★



Kings of Pastry

When Audrey Hepburn’s soufflé refuses to rise at the Paris cooking school in Sabrina, it’s cute. When a young chef’s confectionary sculpture collapses in Kings of Pastry, it’s a culinary Pearl Harbor. It is also the high (and low) moment of this documentary.

Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker are married documentary veterans (The War Room, etc.) who film an elite contest for pastry chefs held every four years, the M.O.F. (Best Craftsmen in France). For three days in Lyon, the invited masters concoct virtually Proustian goodies and build lavish, fragile displays that they must carry, at high risk, to buffet tables. It is clock-driven, grueling work, and while the sweet treats are tempting, by film’s end I wanted something salty or a salad.

Certain figures are followed closely, notably a fretful Alsatian who runs a pastry school in Chicago, but it is the group that stars — the fraternity of cooks and judges. At the prize ceremony, the head judge gets so amped, you’d think he was announcing the return of Charles de Gaulle. This handsome movie has French flair. It is also a wedding cake with 16 grooms and no brides. No females have competed, ever. By not examining that and other issues (such as why much of the sugary art is kitsch), the makers are left, finally, a few cookies short.

★★

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Comments

acannell Dec. 13, 2010 @ 10:42 p.m.

This pretty much sums up David Elliot:

"If, like me, you find some plot elements too soaked in arcane clues and murky myth, the glorious production design, effects, and some elegant animation will carry you along."

So basically, if the movie itself isn't really, well, moving you, just sit back and let the CGI convince you its worth it.

What exactly is your PURPOSE Mr. Elliot?

I suppose we had a very long distance to fall, but this is AWFUL.

Duncan apparently asked David to take over. There can only be two possible explanations:

1- He feels that David is more inline with most moviegoers, and will give ratings and reviews more suited to a larger group of people.

2- He is laughing his head off and asked him out of spite for humanity.

I'd say its both. David's generic, name dropping, and toothless reviews are EXACTLY what Joe Public feels comfortable with. Enough substance to make him feel important, but not enough to intimidate him or actually ask him to consider something perhaps just out of his reach. Everyone gets to stay right in their comfort zone.

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