Sitting in Bars With Cake takes inspiration from the real-life story of author and baker Audrey Shulman, who, on one fine day in 2013, decided to take cakes to bars in hopes of finding a ‘sweet’ boyfriend. In theory, Sitting in Bars With Cake sounds right up my alley. Not only do I love a good slice-of-life film, but I also love me some cake, especially if it means crying about a friendship on the screen. I will admit, it’s not the most riveting concept, but it’s got some intrigue to it anyway. I went into this movie expecting (and hoping) to bawl my eyes out, but shockingly enough, barring a lump in my throat on some occasions, there was no real crying. Along with a superstar director, Trish-Sie, the movie stars performers like Yara Shahidi and Odessa A’zion in pivotal roles.
An introverted woman who loves to bake ends up taking a birthday cake for her best friend to a bar, so they can cut it at the end of the night. Her friend notices immediately, how the cake grabs attention, specifically from guys, and decides to come up with a special project. Jane hates the idea at first, but her bestie Corinne loves to push her out of her comfort zone. They start cake-barring until one day, they find out, that Corinne has cancer. With this terrible fate in their way, can Jane continue on her journey of pushing the boundaries, or will this stop her from enjoying themselves while making absurd cakes? Messy pacing, dull structure, and pale writing fail this film. Even with Yara and Odessa’s bubbly personalities and charming screen presence, the script fails to impress.
Sitting in Bars With Cake goes from everyone’s favorite chocolate to a more rarely appreciated fruit cake after the first quarter. Visually, the film has a lot going on, and that is its biggest strength. Showing us the flavors of cakes through creative visuals, using colors to represent the feelings of the protagonists, and more. On the other hand, it’s botchy in places, a little bit boring in some, and mostly quite uninteresting. The acting is as decent as it can be with the script that everyone had. Only some of the scenes including all the friends were really fun, which could’ve been explored further. It’s easy to understand, how Corinne’s story affects Jane’s life, but there’s no subtlety, and really, there’s no emotional connection between the concepts. The film is called Sitting in Bars With Cake, but at the same time, the cake-barring is barely in the movie.
The film is quite cheesy and doesn’t deliver anything new in its message. Similarly, it doesn’t take any extra steps to make the delivery special, either. This is unfortunate, because these are some talented actresses and a decent enough concept. The use of pop music, as is frequent in these kinds of films, makes it seem a little Disney-like in parts. The complexities of friendship are almost always too hard to represent on screen, but there are some elements here that are quite real-life-like and well done. It’s still not enough to make the movie work. In the big city of Los Angeles, there are only two angels to look out for each other, i.e., Jane and Corinne, but there are other people who are just as delightful. The film is 2 hours long and while it feels a little bit too long, it’s somehow incomplete at the same time.
While many films in the past have dealt with both the topics of friendship and an illness that causes a rift in said friendship, I’m not quite sure what to compare this one with. Personally, I was quite disappointed and am expecting to forget this film rather quickly, which is a shame. I’m always looking to add movies and shows to my period watchlist, and this would’ve been ideal, but alas! I did want to eat cake while watching the film, though. They look quite delicious. I think the contrast between Jane and Corinne is really beautiful, and that’s the highlight of the film for me. Both actresses do a really good job at embodying their characters, and it does feel like they’ve actually been best friends for a very long time. The shortcomings lie in the parts where they start to fall apart or can’t find a way to let their emotions out, because the scenes that depict these are not the best in terms of scripting.
I think Sitting in Bars With Cake could’ve been a good movie if there was better pacing, a better understanding of the time span of the entire film, and if it was better scripted. As I mentioned earlier, visually, it’s really good; even the fashion choices are great, but it all fails to impress when the plot doesn’t deliver the piece it’s meant to. I feel like I’m the exact target audience for this film, and as a result, I think most other targets will be disappointed, like myself. There are some good things to take away from this movie, and on a bad day, it may help you relax a little bit, but only as background noise. I wish I had better things to say about this film, but I really don’t.
I’d give Sitting in Bars With Cake 2.5 stars out of 5 for the beautiful-looking cakes and the wonderful work of the actresses. I will admit, I want more from my slice-of-life films, and I’m tired of getting below-par media. I wish this slice of entertainment was as delicious as the cakes in it. I’d say, enjoy a slice of cake and maybe skip this one, if you’re low on time. If you want something to enjoy with your friends while doing other things, then go ahead and give it a go. There’s some profanity, no nudity, some sexual references, and quite a few cake innuendos in there.