Feature length sequel to the multi award-winning short film GROOM'S CAKE. A mockumentary following the three days leading up to the first birthday party of a child with two gay parents: ... See full summary »
Feature length sequel to the multi award-winning short film GROOM'S CAKE. A mockumentary following the three days leading up to the first birthday party of a child with two gay parents: television actor Steven James and his screenwriter husband, Daniel Ferguson. A movie about the family we are born into and the family we create. Written by
Birthday Cake (2013) was written and directed by Chad Darnell.
This is a movie for which I had high hopes. It's a sequel to a very funny short film, Groom's Cake. Writer/director Chad Darnell stars as Daniel, who's in a loving relationship with Steve, played by Rib Hillis. They have an adorable little girl named Sam, who's one year old, and the plot revolves around Sam's first birthday party.
Because Daniel and Steve are both in the entertainment business, they naturally decide to make a professional film of this happy event. Great concept for a really funny movie because friends, relatives, entertainers, and unexpected guests will naturally interact--for better or for worse--with the film crew.
That was the concept, but it just didn't come off. The predictable guests arrive--loving family members, not-so-loving family members, gay friends, lesbian friends, straight friends, clowns and puppeteers. And, of course, there's the film crew which brings with it all of its baggage--literal and figurative. There is lots of noise, lots of interactions, but, sadly, not lots of humor.
*Important note to Chad Darnell and all filmmakers: Alzheimer's Disease isn't a good source of humor. Making fun of someone with Alzheimer's Disease isn't funny--it's cruel. Don't do it.
I think the basic problem with the film is that Darnell didn't follow through with the basic plot of the film crew trying to make a movie about this fluid, amorphous gathering. In fact, sometimes we lose sight of the film crew during the movie. Then, suddenly, they reappear. It's as if the director thought, "Uh-oh, I need more screen time for the film crew. I have to bring them back into the plot right now." Then, there they were. The movie would have worked better without the plot line of the film crew, or with that plot line emphasized throughout. The half-hearted use of the film crew is what brought the movie down.
We saw this film at Image Out--the Rochester LGBT Film Festival. It's the second film-- along with G.B.F.--about which I believe that a opportunity for a very funny film was wasted. The movie will work on the small screen.
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