Cake (2005) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for sexual humor and language
Running Time: 94 min.
Cast: Heather Graham, David Sutcliffe, Sandra Oh, Taye Diggs, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Cheryl Hines, Bruce Gray
Director: Nisha Ganatra
Screenplay: Tassie Cameron
Reviewpublished February 20, 2006
It's an independent comedy, but very conventional in its delivery, Cake is meant strictly for lovers of romantic comedies, and no one else. For a formula rom-com, it isn't anything special, but it does touch all of the bases and hits the right notes at the right times to ultimately prove worthwhile for genre fans. Co-produced by Heather Graham (Hope Springs, The Guru) herself, it's a smart and thoughtful movie about the nature of marriage, commitments, and all of the pomp and circumstance that ceremonies entail.
Graham stars as Pippa McGee, a free-spirited journalist approaching 30 who travels from Europe back to her hometown to be a bridesmaid at a friend's wedding. Always a bridesmaid, doesn't want to be a bride, she is the last person to head up her ailing magazine-mogul father's struggling bride mag, "Wedding Bells", but she makes a promise. The company is on the verge of going under, so liberal-minded Pippa tries to turn things around, but her ideas aren't meeting well with her more conservative staff. Meanwhile, she is beginning to fall for daddy's right-hand man, Ian (Sutcliffe, Testosterone), although the fact that the relationship might end up being serious scares her, as she's never been in a relationship long enough to ever come close to tying the knot.
Cake is a breezy comedy, never really laugh-out-loud funny, but it does feature a cast of appealing actors, and some of the situations are amusing, albeit in a light-as-a-feather way. Graham performs well in her typically unconventional fashion, giving her character a little quirky edge that it needs to make her more distinguishable from other generic romantic comedies of this ilk. Sutcliffe and Diggs (Malibu's Most Wanted, Basic) are charming as the would-be suitors of this woman that would rather run away than be tied down, while Sandra Oh (Sideways, Rick) adds extra intelligence as Pippa's equally self-confident, at least externally, best friend.
However, for all of its good points, Cake doesn't really have the story elements to make it anything more than a pleasant soul-searching comedy, so its appeal should be limited to Graham's fans and those that are rom-com regulars. Most viewers that fall outside of this will be very bored for the duration. Cake is a dessert film, but like most confections, it's not to every taste.
©2006 Vince Leo