22 May 2024

Film Review – Sitting In Bars Eating Cake (2023)


It took a while to totally unleash the flow into ugly crying, but this true story defiantly got me bawling.

Not having any inkling of reference to the best selling narratively curated recipe book by Audrey Shulman, I was not prepared for this best-friends journey of courage, family and illness evolving into a monumental tearjerker with enigmatic leads and an extended, rare cameo from The Divine Miss M (Bette Midler).

Elegantly radiant Yara Shadidi (Tinkerbell in recent Disney update, Peter Pan & Wendy) as perpetually single Jade, is leaning towards leaving ambitions of being a lawyer diverting her talents to baking raising a scheme alongside outgoing close mate Corinne (Odessa A’Zion) to meet perpetual dates at the same time. Her promotion at a highly regarded music agency recommended by her boss Benita (Midler) is a dream job moment and perfect for her high spirited personality.

Carting in overwhelmingly gorgeously looking cakes to various themed bars and nightclubs as a kind of icebreaker seems to work immediately, drawing in all sorts of eager night owls. The tour around L.A establishments is fun for all until a snag in circumstances brings enjoyment to a halt, Corinne is diagnosed with cancer.

This is where familiar by-the-numbers traits of tragic dramas kick in, however the movie still works covering both the sadness and joy in resolute balance.

Her presence alone is sparkling, no stranger to a good, happy-sad story, Beaches (1988) stepping in and out of the movie in small doses, Bette Midler resists the divine madness of The Rose (1979) to be friend and supporter to her unwell, music admiring employee.

I also appreciated authenticity of location. There’s a scene in front of the iconic Capitol Records building and they go to dinner at Miceili’s Italian, certainly hard get more L.A that that.

Chemistry between Shahidi and A’Zion accumulates equal sentiment, humour and annoyance, they are a good duo under the disturbingly emotional moments. My fellow Australian Maia Mitchell pops in and out to adorable affect, whilst veteran Ron Livingston of classic Office Space (1999) makes an impression as Corinne’s fix-it dad. Lighthearted and heartwarming when required, then the waterworks hit, be ready!

★★★1/2

Comedy, Drama | USA, 2023 | 12 | Prime Video | 8th September 2023 | Amazon Studios | Dir. Trish Sie | Yara Shahidi, Odessa A’zion, Bette Midler, Ron Livingston, Martha Kelly, Maia Mitchell

You can follow Shane A.Bassett at Twitter @themovieanalyst


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