After eight years globetrotting as a travel writer, a family emergency puts Pippa McGee in the editor's chair at Wedding Bells, the magazine she'd be least-likely to read. She's a self-described slut who doesn't see the value of marriage much less the point of weddings and wedding magazines. For her first issue, she tries edgy and iconoclastic. Can she pull it off? Meanwhile, the gulf between herself and her father impedes her work and her personal life, and her mistrust of commitment is tested by her involvement with a photographer named Hemingway and her interactions with Ian, her father's second-in-command. Is there a Mr. Darcy for this Miss Bennett, a Benedict for this Beatrice? Written by
In a perfect world, Heather Graham would be as bankable as, say, Julia Roberts.
Graham certainly is prettier than the Pretty Woman, has a better sense of comedic timing and, let's face it, has eyes you could disappear into. (Any straight guy who says otherwise is, well, probably Republican.) Trouble is, Graham isn't going to be America's sweetheart
I don't know if she wants to be - if she keeps making films such as
I realize Graham executive-produced this film. What was she thinking? Surely she saw Tassie Cameron's script as just another run-of-the-mill romantic comedy replete with the clichéd love triangle and tired stereotypes.
Perhaps Graham needs a new agent - especially after the "Emily's Reasons Why Not" debacle. She has some good films on her resume -"Bowfinger" (1999), "Boogie Nights" (1997), "Two Girls and a Guy" (1997), "The Ballad of Little Jo" (1993) and "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989). But the roles that stand out are Rollergirl and Felicity Shagwell and it's the clunkers that seem to define her - "Lost in Space" (1998), "Say It Ain't So" (2001) and "Killing Me Softly" (2002). Now, add "Cake" to the mix.
Cameron and director Nisha Ganatra don't even bother masking their film's hackneyed plot. Which is a shame because they have a talented cast. There's Graham, Taye Diggs, Cheryl Hines, Sandra Oh (who's terrific on TV's "Grey's Anatomy") and Sarah Chalke, who knows what it's like to do genuinely funny comedy on TV's "Scrubs," which, for my money, is the best half-hour on TV.
Graham, much like Roberts, isn't a masterful dramatic actress. Her turn as English hooker Mary Kelly in "From Hell" (2001) was admirable, albeit miscast. But Graham clearly knows how to play comedy. She just needs good material. Her nine-episode stint as Dr. Molly Clock on "Scrubs" proved as much.
There's never a moment in "Cake" when you think, "Oh, this is different." Cameron's script is so atrociously lazy that she never bothers to include even the slightest of surprises. Poor Graham flays about buoyantly in a valiant, yet futile, attempt to elicit laughs out of this bad script.
In "Cake," she's Pippa McGee, a spunky, care-free travel writer suddenly forced to take over her dad's magazine - a bridal periodical. There's some humor in the decor of the magazine's offices as this sprightly, independent feminist tries to handle things. But the story is so clunky and her two love interest so unreal and dull, there's not even a modicum of sense to this whole enterprise. Pippa spends such little time with the men that it's asking a lot of us to believe either would work.
As much fun as it is to see the luminescent Graham bounce around, she certainly deserves better than this mediocre fare.
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