Candy and money don't mix well
Klein is one of the more unique people you'll ever meet in a documentary. A man of amazing enthusiasm and energy, he set in motion the product that would one day become Jelly Belly, and became its mascot, appearing on television shows like Mike Douglas', in costume--as Mr. Jelly Belly--a cartoonish goofball who helped raise awareness of his candy, until business forces behind the scenes, including his own partners and friends, bought the company--the parts he hadn't already given away--out from under him. It's a sad story of betrayal and greed, made all the worse by getting to know the real person it victimized, not to mention his family (with talk of family strife and hints of abuse throughout.)
Over the course of the film, through archival footage and photographs, along with some roughly-captured interviews with the Kleins, business associates and industry contemporaries (as well as, for some reason, jelly-bean fan Yankovic, who acts as something of a comedic commentator on the story) the history of Klein and Jelly Belly are laid out, setting up the candymaker's downfall, as well as where his path took him after the pinnacle. The movie takes on the tone of a father-and-son story at times (perhaps betraying Bert's role as producer) but it makes sense since the business affected their relationship. However, the movie is at its best when it is letting David be David, especially when he's being Mr. Gumdrop, a unique persona David took on following the launch of his Jelly Belly. There is nothing like him.
Aside from the use of a moving handheld camera during an interview for no other reason than variety, the movie may be at its lowest power when it sets up David for canonization. It's pretty obvious what Candyman's point of view is--considering it's almost entirely one-sided (whether through intent or a lack of participation on some parties' parts)--but a large portion of the film is all about showing what an amazing and giving person David is to those around him, as a parade of people share the positive effect he had on them. There's no reason to doubt that any of this is anything but true, but it gets to be a little heavy-handed after a while. Sure, it helps sell the narrative, but no one is really doubting who David is at that point. Like eating too many Jelly Bellys, it just becomes too much.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is a clean, direct, center-balanced presentation, handling voices and music well, with no concerns about audibility or separation. Nothing particular pops about the audio, but the main song, which appears late in the movie (and on the menus) is crisp and strong.
Two commentaries are included, one from Botes and one from Dave and Bert Klein. The Botes track is a low-energy affair, during which he does a good deal of narrating what's happening on-screen and tossing in his thoughts on the story as it unfolds (all in that wonderful New Zealand accent.) The track with the Kleins is where it's at though, as you get a great feel of what Dave Klein is all about, with a manic brand of commentary that features a lot of reminiscing, lots of thank yous, and his thoughts on what happened in his past (revealing a few things that didn't make it into the movie, including one completely insane detail.)
A theatrical trailer (1:56) is included, but it's awkwardly constructed.
The Bottom Line