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Davis Journal

The Movie Guru: ‘Sitting in Bars with Cake’ and ‘Choose Love’ both charming in their own way

Sep 07, 2023 03:29PM ● By Jenniffer Wardell
Credit for photo ©Amazon Content Services LLC

Credit for photo ©Amazon Content Services LLC

Sitting in Bars with Cake (Prime)

“Sitting in Bars with Cake” is a good movie, but it’s not at all the movie it looks like.

If you look at the poster, or watch the first 15 minutes, the movie seems like the comedy/romance it bills itself as. The idea of bringing a fully decorated cake to bars in order to talk to guys seems like the perfect recipe for a meet-cute, and there’s a nice sprinkling of hijinks throughout the opening. Yara Shahidi and Odessa A’Zion have great friend chemistry as the shy baker and her more wild, outgoing friend.

Before long, however, you realize that the real heart of the movie is something much closer to “Beaches.” A medical crisis interrupts the fun, and the two struggle to continue the cake plan in the face of worsening health and the struggles of caretaking. There’s definitely love here, the bond between the two friends explored to a heartbreakingly beautiful degree, but any romance in the movie is half-hearted at best. There’s still some humor, but you’ll cry as often as you’ll laugh.

Shahidi is particularly fantastic as Jane, a quiet, nerdy introvert who learns to come out of her shell even as she wrestles with the world falling apart. She’s largely responsible for some of the movie’s most poignant moments, bringing a delicacy and depth that will hurt you in the best way. She shines in this movie, and I hope she gets the chance to shine even more.

Grade: Three and a half stars

Choose Love (Netflix)

Have you ever watched a romance and wished the lead character could hear you? That you could help her make a better choice than the one she was making?

“Choose Love” gives you the chance to do just that. The movie lets you make a series of choices for Cami, ones that let her choose one of three guys and have an impact on her career. Some of the decisions are just fun, offering slightly different scenes, while others make a significant difference on where you end up. Even better, the options all come from your active choices and not from tricks the movie pulls on you.

Despite all the options, the movie is still a cheesy romance at its heart. The whole point is to watch a spunky young woman get what she wants out of life, and though you can choose to be on your own the most satisfying endings are with the men. I started with the least popular option (according to all the comments I’ve seen in articles) and still got a perfectly sweet, romantic story. The other options prove more exciting, and give you more story twists, and the endings are just as delightful in their own way. Whatever your version of a dream guy is, “Choose Love” can deliver.

Grade: Three and a half stars

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Utah Film Critic Association. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at [email protected].