Sunday, December 23, 2012

Capsule Film Reviews: Cake

At one point in the 2005 Canadian romantic comedy Cake (directed by Nisha Ganatra, written by Tassie Cameron) Philippa "Pippa" McGee (Heather Graham, who was also executive producer) the bohemian world travelling almost thirtysomething travel writing daughter of a magazine magnate (Malcolm, Bruce Gray) who sees men as little more than play toys for her personal pleasure (Hemingway Jones played by Taye Diggs is one of them) wears a shirt proclaiming that women are the new men. What Pippa finds when she returns home to Toronto from her world adventures, however, is that one by one her friends, the women who, at one point in the film, she says were going to take over the world, are getting married (Jane, Sarah Chalke), falling in love (Rachel, Sabrina Grdevich), and having babies (Lulu, Sandra Oh). Women, Pippa learns, aren't the new men. They are simply updated versions of the women they have always been. By the end of the film Pippa exchanges her "men are the new women" shirt for a pink one, the same pink that bathes the offices and van of the Wedding Bells magazine she has taken over for her sick father, once she finds true love with Ian (Daniel Sutcliffe), the man who her father has asked to guide Pippa through the murky waters of magazine publishing. Fairy tales, Cake seems to tell us, really are real and they really do come true. Women who thought they were the new men can find true love, have babies, and reconcile with their once busy fathers. Cake may have its Sex and the City like sexual frankness and cynicism about romance but it eats it too. But hey, it does manage to mention Baudrillard and Derrida and reference 1930s and 1940s Hollywood screwball romantic comedies all in the same breath. Two and a half stars out of four.

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