Capsule Review: A Piece of Cake

Written by Anna Harrison

65/100

A Piece of Cake explores a common theme: fathers who neglect their family in favor of work. Now, “common” does not necessarily mean “bad,” and A Piece of Cake certainly adds its own unique spin to this conundrum by sprinkling in a dash of absurdity as Rich Sommer’s Jim embarks on an epic adventure to acquire illegal cake decorations for his daughter, Cora (Riona O’Donnell).

If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is—though on purpose. Cora, for her upcoming birthday, wants silver balls on her cake. Jim agrees to get them, but Cora doubts his follow-through as he’s let her down many times before. Jim, rightly feeling bad about this, makes it his mission to get some balls (haha) and soon discovers the seedy underground world of illegal cake decorations, populated by harried fathers in business suits who speak in hushed voices as they discuss the ways in which to best acquire balls, which seem to be illegal in California.

The short, directed by brothers Austin and Meredith Bragg, is at its best when fully leaning into the more humorous aspects of the script, or employing editing techniques most often seen in action movies to great comedic effect. It’s a sweet, somewhat familiar movie, though can never quite decide if it wants to completely lean into the absurdism or maintain some level of realism, so ends up feeling a little indecisive and stuck in places. Still, a decently tasty piece of cake.

You can read Anna’s interview with Austin and Meredith Bragg or you can follow more of Anna’s work on LetterboxdTwitterInstagram, and her website.

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