3 Days, 9 Friends, 1 Pair of Handcuffs…
…equals 97 excruciating minutes of bad dialogue, bad acting, and a bad story.
I had high hopes for God, Sex, and Apple Pie. Who wouldn't, with a tag line like the above and a picture of a scantily-, leather-, clad woman gracing the back cover of the DVD? But, alas, it was all a tease. In all, sex only accounts for about 10 percent of this movie. This might not be such a bad thing if the rest of the movie—you know, the dialogue, the acting, and the story—were any good at all. But since they aren't, I was left wishing the movie's creators had extended that 10 percent to 100 and just made a porno. At least then I could say the acting, dialogue, and story were phenomenal…for a porno. I guess I could still say that, but I wouldn't want to get your hopes up.
Facts of the Case
God, Sex, and Apple Pie opens as nine friends make their way toward a cabin for a long weekend of relaxation and reminiscing. The men—Alex, Tim, Drew, Trent, and Ron—have been friends since high school. Alex's wife (Maggie) and Tim's wife (Bobbie) have been around since college and are friends with each other. Drew's girlfriend (Tina) and Trent's girlfriend (Debi) are new to the group. Ron, the most unattractive of the five men, is single.
As the friends greet each other and get settled in, we learn tidbits of information about each of them: Alex is a television reporter who's having an affair with an on-air coworker. Maggie, his wife, is a stay-at-home mom who's worried about their marriage (and rightfully so, it seems). Tim is a highly successful investment broker who's being investigated for insider trading. Bobbie, his wife, is a top-notch lawyer who's planning to go back to school to be a psychologist. Trent is an artist who's still hung up on his ex. Debi, his girlfriend, is a model who's confused about the status of their relationship. Drew is a musician who's insecure about his lack of success. Tina, his girlfriend, is…well, apparently she's not important enough to have a career written into the script…who's tired of Drew's intimacy issues. Ron is a postal worker by day / comedian by night who's been on and off the wagon for years.
As would be expected from a group with such pressing problems, tempers fly, revelations are made, and consequences are dealt out as the weekend progresses.
If you couldn't tell from my summary, God, Sex, and Apple Pie is not a plot-driven film. In fact, it doesn't have much of a plot at all. About 75 minutes in, we get a little bit of action, but instead of suddenly making the film compelling, it just feels out of place and forced, like an afterthought that only ends up making us more aware of the absence of plot in the rest of the film.
This lack of plot shouldn't be the glaring problem it is, though. Other films have focused almost entirely on characters and been perfectly acceptable, often even good. What's the difference between them and God, Sex, and Apple Pie? They had good actors and good dialogue. Films with good plots can survive without good acting and good dialogue—they're not going to win any awards, but they can survive. Without a good plot, though, a film relies on its characters to keep the audience entertained and interested. And no character is going to be entertaining or interesting without realistic and compelling dialogue to speak and a talented actor to speak it. This film tries to escape the usual limitations and ignore the plot in lieu of the characters, but because it's filled with lousy, over-emotive actors and stilted, stuffy dialogue, it doesn't succeed.
To put it more simply: the plot is nonexistent, the actors are unskilled, and the dialogue is intolerable, so the movie is, well, horrible.
Unlike the movie itself, the transfers are surprisingly well done for such a low-budget film. The video is clear, with no visible errors. The only problem I can see occurs when a television is shown in the movie. To avoid rolling screens on televisions shown in a movie, those televisions are supposed to show film that has the same frame rate as the movie. The television in question does not, so the scene is marred by a rolling screen. But this is only a brief problem in an otherwise enjoyable visual presentation. Based on experience, I assume the film is presented in a 1.85:1 ratio, but the information isn't listed on the case and can't be found on any of the websites I checked. The audio is full, with intelligible dialogue (unfortunately) and good use of bass in the music. According to the case, this disc includes a 5.1 Dolby Digital track, but the two DVD players I tried it on found only a 5.0 Dolby Digital track. Again, no information could be found on any of the websites I checked. The audio track is still fairly good, but I removed a few points from the score for the misleading specs.
The disc's extras are by no means comprehensive, but they are satisfactory, especially for this unknown film. Included are outtakes and deleted scenes, interviews with producer/writer Jerome Courshon and production designer Colleen Devine, a behind-the-scenes look at the shooting of the "Drinking Pictionary" scene, and a trailer for the film. For a film of this nature—so reliant on its characters and their interactions—I would have appreciated the opportunity to hear a director's or writer's commentary, but no such luck.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The only positive thing I can really come up with to say about this movie is that the character Ron told some funny jokes during his comedic routines. Unfortunately, he was such a putz during the rest of the movie that I had difficulty believing he could be both people.
Don't watch this movie. If you read about the premise—a group of old friends reuniting to remember their better days—and were intrigued, go watch The Big Chill instead. I've never seen it, but I'm sure it's better than God, Sex, and Apple Pie because pretty much every other movie ever made is better.
Don't be fooled by the cover's claim that the film won six international film festival awards. They were from festivals in places such as the 30th Parallel and Temecula Valley, so I assume the film was the only entry for each award it won. That explanation is more realistic than the idea that people out there actually enjoyed it.
God, Sex, and Apple Pie is found guilty of every crime there is and is sentenced to use that one pair of handcuffs to lock itself up and stop inflicting harm upon society.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
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