“Candyman” spills the beans on the inventor of the Jelly Belly, David Klein, who mixed his formula with love at the expense of his bottom line. Co-produced by Klein’s son Bert, the largely flavorless docu suggests that this schlubby Willy Wonka was too mild at heart to prevent the sale of his company out from under him in the early ’80s. In America, the candyman says, one only needs to be smart for 15 seconds — which may be true, although a feature-length film requires more sustained intelligence. Some regional fests might be tempted to take a taste nonetheless.
That President Reagan helped popularize the Belly before his corporate culture put Klein out to pasture is one of several rich ironies the film fails to note. Interviewed in the pic, the younger Klein suggests Dad may have taken the pain of his financial sugar crash out on his kids. At the same time, the inventor’s love of children is abundantly clear in the story he tells of having celebrated his own birthday by doling out free ice cream to tots. This candyman is evidently too sweet for capitalism.