HOLLYSHORTS 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! A Piece of Cake begins as a simple gesture from father to daughter, as he promises to get her what she wants for her birthday. Quickly, however, the film takes a turn and becomes something oddly, comically dark. Jim travels through the depths of the baking underworld to keep the promise to his daughter, managing to compare the acquisition of silver balls to the likes of cocaine and other hard drugs.
It’s the day before Cora’s (Riona O’Donnell) birthday, and as usual, her mom, Claire (Natalie Britton), has to take care of decorations, presents, and the cake. With everything seemingly under control, Cora makes a change to her dream cake, requesting little silver balls to go on top, making things much more difficult for Claire. However, Cora’s dad, Jim (Rich Sommer), is here to save the day. While he makes a promise to his daughter, she is unsure if it is a legitimate promise or a “dad promise,” as she calls it. With time and disappointment breathing down his back, Jim will do whatever it takes to find the little silver balls, but he soon finds out that this will be anything but A Piece of Cake.
“…Jim will do whatever it takes to find the little silver balls…”
As Jim works toward this particular goal, it’s merely the situation, not Sommers, who keeps the movie afloat. While the notion of not letting a loved one down allows viewers to see themselves in Jim, much of what he does feels forced, making it difficult for viewers to relate to him directly and more so to his journey. This less-than-genuine performance delivers only because of how absurd A Piece of Cake is in its entirety. The silliness and unlikelihood of the situation allow Sommers to be awkward and, furthermore, take a bit of pressure off of him. However, even the story’s foolishness fails to deliver on occasion, leaving one aspect of the short to save the day: the love Jim has for Cora.
As previously mentioned, Jim truly loves his daughter, and his willingness to do whatever is possible to make her happy resonates with the audience. A Piece of Cake, as hard as it tries to be a comedy, relies much more on the sanctity of parenthood, becoming, in many ways, a drama. Viewers feel for Jim as he does any and everything he can to find the one thing his daughter desires, and they begin rooting for his successful finish.
As quickly as A Piece of Cake shifts from comedy to drama, it comes to a close. Regardless of whether or not Jim is successful, the story warms the hearts of those watching as they begin to understand just how much he loves Cora. The juxtaposition of attempted comedy and real-life drama mix semi-successfully, allowing viewers to appreciate what The Bragg Brothers, who wrote and directed this short, can accomplish so quickly.
A Piece of Cake screened at the 2020 Hollyshorts Film Festival.
"…warms the hearts of those watching..."