God, Sex & Apple Pie

| November 9, 2003

God, Sex and Apple Pie by Paul Leaf goes like this:
Setting
-Summer Home where a group of friends come together every July 4th weekend for their annual reunion
Ensemble Cast
Tim– a stock broker involved in a financial scam that will ultimately destroy him
Bobbi–Tim’s wife and a lawyer seeking to return to school so she can “help people”
Alex–a successful journalist wanting to move on with life and that means getting rid of his wife as well (He has been cheating on her)
Maggie–Alex’s wife who is just there
Trent–an artist friend who paints what he feels and he hurts inside because he was dumped by a girlfriend who was money hungry
Debi–Trent’s new hot model girlfriend who has the answers for everything (she too hurts)
Drew–a frustrated musician, jealous of the financial success of his friends
Tina–Drew’s loving girlfriend who works as a secretary to a political aide and supports Drew even when he throws his hissy-fits
Ron–Ron doesn’t get enough screen time, but basically plays the angry, hostile, narcissistic mailman of the group.
All the characters represent unfulfilled aspirations of a generation seeking stability and understanding of themselves regardless of their success or lack there of. Ultimately they learn that friendship serves as support, comfort and motivation for one’s own struggles.
Although I give Paul Leaf credit for his effort in making this ensemble piece it ultimately is not entertaining or interesting. Two flaws the film has are the underdeveloped characters and the bland soulless dialogue. The characters are presented as one- dimensional cut outs of social clichés. It seemed that Leaf was attempting to start off with cliché characters and gradually allow them to break that mold as they discover some depth to their personalities, but their transitions are forced and unconvincing. The best example of this is Alex who is dealing with his boredom in life, especially with his wife Debi, and Debi’s resolution towards Alex’s infidelity. Ron is perhaps the exception since he merely appears to be even more repressed at the end of the movie. The dialogue itself is weak and uninteresting. The actors are working off material that is lacking humor when it is obviously intended to be humorous, making it odd when characters laugh at lines no one would find funny.
God, Sex and Apple Pie tries to be dramatic, humorous, inspiring, shocking and smart, but by the end I would’ve settled for tolerable. Aside from a decent performance from Phil Palisoul (Ron) and nice cinematography by Scott E. Steele, God, Sex and Apple Pie is not in the same league as its predecessors The Return of The Secaucus 7 and The Big Chill.

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