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A madcap portrayal of William Lightbody's stay at the health farm run by cereal king Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. William's wife, Eleanor, has persuaded him to go to Kellogg to have his system cleaned of impurities. Kellogg is very unconventional, and almost barbaric in his treatments. Written by
Not having seen this film before, it came as a total surprise the other night when it was shown on cable. Alan Parker, the director, has adapted the T. Coraghessan Boyle's book into a hilarious comedy that evidently, judging from some of the comments to this forum, is not a crowd pleaser, yet, the film rewards those with an open mind to enjoy this hysterical take of a mad scientist, a spa, and the people that tend to patronize those places.
The story about the use of cereals, championed by Dr. John Henry Kellogg, is the basis of the story. This revolutionary doctor's methods were amazing in the way they were applied to patients going for the cure of their bad stomachs caused by the prevailing eating habits of the time.
This farce is great fun because of the cast assembled for the movie. Anthony Hopkins plays the mad Dr. Kellogg with glasses and false teeth that distort his face. We have to look hard into this mad man to realize the transformation Mr. Hopkins achieves with his character.
John Cusack, as the enterprising Charles Ossining, travels to Battle Creek, Michigan in search of riches, trying to capitalize on the cereal craze. He finds a partner in the devious Bender, played with great panache by Michael Lerner, one of the best character actors in the American cinema.
As the patrons of the spa, we encounter a young couple, the Lightbodies that go for a treatment. Briget Fonda and Matthew Broderick play the Lightbodies, a pair that is separated at their arrival and who encounter satisfaction in more ways than one, as they discover their sexuality. Lara Flynn Boyle, Camryn Manheim, Traci Lind, John Neville, Dana Carvey, Colm Meany and Jacob Reynolds are all good in their small roles.
This film, with its different kind of humor, will make anyone laugh.
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