“Sitting in Bars with Cake is an uneven film that takes time to find its footing but when it does, it becomes a touching and uplifting story about friendship.”
Sitting in Bars with Cake is a dramedy based on the book of the same name by Audrey Shulman. This film is inspired by true events. It releases exclusively on Prime Video tomorrow.
Sitting in Bars with Cake tells the story of best friends Jane (Yara Shahidi) and Corinne (Odessa A’zion) as they navigate life in Los Angeles. They are both very different – Corinne is an extrovert while Jane is a shy person who loves to bake cake. Corinne convinces her friend to commit to a year of baking cakes and bringing them to bars in the hope to meet people. They call it “cakebarring.”
The premise is interesting but the film handles it in an uneven way. With a title like that, I expected to see both the baking of the cakes and the bars. And at the beginning, you do get both. However, very quickly the film only focuses on the bars, barely showing the cakes. I always take Jon Favreau’s Chef as the perfect example on how you incorporate cooking as part of your storyline and how you film food to highlight it. This one fails to do both. And it is a shame because who doesn’t love cakes? All the more since Jane’s cake are quite creative. That aspect of the storyline is completely overlooked. The cakes are basically a MacGuffin.
Though, when it comes to the bars, the film mostly forgets to show you the results of Jane meeting people too. There is a scene here and there but it’s not really explored. Even Jane’s relationship with Owen (Rish Shah) stays on the surface. The problem is that this film doesn’t know what it wants to be so it ends up failing at many things.
However, not everything is bad. Sitting in Bars with Cake actually ends up being a touching story about friendship. It’s ultimately why we stay. During their year of “cakebarring,” Corinne receives a diagnosis that changes her life. From that moment, the film finds its footing and focuses on how the two friends face this new challenge. It doesn’t stay on the surface any more, it actually delves into this storyline. We see the ups and downs of Corinne’s life-altering diagnosis. You will need tissues because this is deeply moving. Nevertheless, the film never falls into the over-dramatic. In fact, it tries to give an uplifting look at this by celebrating the friendship between Corinne and Jane.
Moreover, Yara Shahidi and Odessa A’zion both shine, delivering heartfelt performances. They are the heart of this film. You can really feel the bond between their characters. This is partly thanks to their beautiful on-screen chemistry. Ron Livingston also delivers a moving performance as Corinne’s father. However, Bette Midler is terribly underused. She is good as the boss but the story doesn’t make anything with her character. There was a lot of potential though.
VISUALS & SOUNDTRACK
Sitting in Bars with Cake is shot like an indie film so it does its best at showcasing Los Angeles in a natural light. Trish Sie films her cast in a way that gets the best out of their emotions. She has an eye for dramatic scenes and knows how to find the light in them. Furthermore, there is a good choice of songs. However, during the bar scenes, dialogue is often difficult to hear as the music is way too loud. In a way, it makes it feel like you are actually in a bar but they should have worked better on the sound mixing for these scenes.
Sitting in Bars with Cake is an uneven film that takes time to find its footing but when it does, it becomes a touching and uplifting story about friendship. Both Yara Shahidi and Odessa A’zion deliver heartfelt performances, they are the heart of this film.
Sitting in Bars with Cake releases tomorrow on Prime Video.
Collectables Editor at Future Of The Force.
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