Movie Review 2007 #105: The Road to Wellville

A quirky comedy set in Battle Creek Michigan at the turn of the 20th century, starring Matthew Broderick, Bridget Fonda, Anthony Hopkins, and John Cusack amongst many others.


Broderick and Fonda play the Lightbodies, a well to do couple who travel to Battle Creek at the beginning of the 20th century in order to visit the Sanitarium, run by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (Hopkins), brother to the creator of Kellogg’s corn flakes. His unusual and eccentric theories of health attract the sick like the Lightbodies, as well as the avaricious Cusack, and a host of other unusual characters. Dana Carvey, for example, plays the estranged son to Hopkins’ Kellogg.
The movie itself is an indictment of fadism, amongst other things, set in the confines of the Sanitarium. The movie plays off of the quirky and unusual characters as they spend a few weeks undergoing the odd and unusual treatments. The movie’s humor goes from wordplay (“do you masticate?”) to bawdiness, to physical comedy, to the personalities of the odd characters themselves. The cast is top notch and there isn’t a weak performance to be found.
The only problem I really had with this movie is the DVD itself. For reasons I cannot fathom, the DVD available (which I Netflixed) only featured the widescreen picture in a full frame format. I have lamented such butchery of movies many times before, and its the only detraction from a very funny movie. Other than that, I liked it.