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cast: Heather Graham, David Sutcliffe, Sandra Oh, Taye Diggs, and Cheryl Hines

director: Nisha Ganatra

94 minutes (12) 2006
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Metrodome DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Ian R. Faulkner
Upfront, I have to say I'm not adverse to a good romantic comedy. Sure, I'm all for films with weight and substance; films that make your brain ache and simply force you to spend the next few hours, days, weeks pondering what the heck they were all about, but I also like the odd bit of no-brainer fluff. Unfortunately for Nisha Ganatra's Cake, I also like my rom-com fluff to be entertaining, as original as possible and, probably because of the comedy part of their genre labelling, funny.

Cake opens with Pippa Mcgee (Heather Graham), a free-spirited, hedonistic, freelance travel writer, running late for her friend's wedding. As the night progresses and the booze flows, we find out she and friend Lulu (Sandra Oh) are both totally against the whole idea of commitment and marriage and would much rather have quick, no-strings sex than ever suffer the indignity of a long term relationship, much less get hitched. To prove her point, blasted on champagne, Pippa attempts to seduce one of the wedding guests, the quiet and handsome Ian (David Sutcliffe), who, although obviously attracted to Pippa, wants more than a quick shag with a drunken blonde!

At home afterwards, Pippa finds herself suddenly forced to help out with her father's magazine empire, as the wealthy and successful Malcolm McGee (Bruce Gray) has suffered a heart attack and is incapacitated. To Pippa's horror her father sticks her at 'Wedding Bells', the magazine started by her late mother, and the epitome of everything she hates. To make matters worse, Pippa also finds out her boss, and the vice president of her father's company, is none other than her failed fling from the wedding, Ian. Needless to say, Pippa has a myriad of problems at 'Wedding Bells', and undergoes one disaster after another, until she knuckles down and saves the day.

I'm not sure where to start with Cake, other than to say, as a rom-com it's neither 'rom' nor 'com'. What it is, is predictable from the get go - almost from the opening scene it's possible to predict the course of the movie from start to finish. The characters are little more than cookie-cut stereotypes, so much so that I could imagine the writer (Tassie Cameron) and the director working through a tick list of clichéd character traits: gay sidekick (Keram Malicki-Sanchez), tick; snotty co-worker (Cheryl Hines), tick; black love interest (Taye Diggs), tick. And, as to the plot, well, it is so run-of-the-mill, seen-it-all-before, that it just smacks of Hollywood laziness and I have to wonder what Graham ever saw in it, even with her executive producer credit, it certainly won't be adding anything worthy to her body of work.

It did warm up a little towards the third act, but this may just have been due to the fact that I had lost the will to live and been numbed into capitulation by its formulaic blandness. Overall, not good: not good at all.

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