Pieces of April ? 4 fl0w3rs

To my surprise Pieces of April was a really adorable flick. On some level, I relate to this family. In fact, I think many out there can relate. Those of us with dysfunctional families have a tendency to loathe holidays like Thanksgiving. Yet every once in a while there is a holiday gathering that doesn?t involve profanity, verbal abuse, snide comments, tears, etc. Every now and then there is holiday that puts the ?fun? in dysfunctional. In my mind, that is what this movie is all about.

April Burns (Katie Holmes) is a young adult living in a run-down apartment in the bad part of town. She invites her family to Thanksgiving dinner. It seems sweet enough but April has been the problem child and her mother (Patricia Clarkson) is less than forgiving.

There are parallel stories taking place during most of this movie. Half of the movie is about April. You get to see April?s internal struggle regarding her family. On one hand, she wants to impress her family but on the other hand she harbors some very real angst towards them.

The other side of the movie is about April?s parents, grandma and her two siblings. They are driving to the city for April?s dinner. April?s mother and siblings (John Gallagher Jr. and Alison Pill) appear to have just as much disdain for her that she does for them. So the scene is set. As the story progresses you discover that April?s Mom has/had aggressive breast cancer. It seems as if her Dad (Oliver Platt) pushed for the family to get together for Thanksgiving dinner and put their differences aside.

Let the comedy of errors begin. In April’s apartment, everything has gone awry. Her new boyfriend (Derek Luke) seems genuinely sweet but possibly a little clueless about the family he?s getting involved with. Perhaps that is for the best because his push helps April get through this whole shin-dig.

The turkey becomes the biggest problem. April’s oven is broken, so she goes on a search through her building for someone with an oven she can borrow. Many doors are slammed in her face, since most of the neighbors are suspicious, but there’s a Chinese family that offers to help after running into some snags with the previous helpers. Meanwhile there is some frustrating but funny stuff going on in the car ride. There is a little humor in everything from pot smoking to the burial of a road kill victim.

My favorite part of this movie, although it is a tad unbelievable, is the happy ending. My least favorite part is the ?blair witch? cinematography. So many films are doing this now. Shaky, hand held, home movie style cinematography and I hate it. I realize that they may not have had the budget but she should have sacrificed something else and purchased a $30 tripod or something. Also kudos to Platt and Luke. They play my favorite characters from this cute little flick. Overall, I?d say check it out.

Pending reviews: Dracula 2000 and Dracula II Ascension

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