At times the film captures the pacing of the small town, the Kimbroughs bond, and feud, over seemingly uneventful breakfasts. A lazy flea market provides the backdrop for a critical, yet leisurely, meeting between a pair of couples. Georgia and Beagle really see each other for the first time, as Easy and Marg, ill-at-ease and apart since the recent death of Easy's wife, reunite with some small talk in public. At other times Masterson moves swiftly, the denouement to Guy's pursuit of his former girlfriend is told, completely, in a single glance.
The Cake Eaters has some distracting loose ends. Jesse Martin has a small part that adds little but unanswered questions to the story line. Georgia's relationship with her mother starts as fast and fascinating and dead ends with no real exploration. Melissa Leo gets a mystery credit as an actress when she should have been listed as a crew member - "leaf raker". These oddities suggest some very major editing was done after the shoot - probably to focus more narrowly on the story line growing out of the relationship between Georgia and Beagle at the expense of other elements from the original script. Good decision, Ms Masterson. Kristen Stewart is brilliant as Georgia in a role reminiscent of your own work in Benny & Joon. The cast (particularly Dern, Stanford and Ashley), score (including works by Duncan Sheik and Glen Hansard), and cinematography all had exactly what it takes to make this film work. If you don't see it in the theater it is worth renting the DVD. No details on release date or distribution plan available at this time.
If you google "cake eaters" you will see many references, but if you know that Jayce Bartok is originally from Pittsburgh and you notice that Elizabeth Ashley, in character as a tipsy Marg, roars mysteriously that her family is from Upper St. Clair, then you know cake eater can mean only one thing. In the Pittsburgh area, "cake eater" is a derisive term applied by blue collar kids to the privileged upper middle class, especially those from suburbs like Mt. Lebanon or Upper St. Clair. As Good As News is betting that Jayce Bartok is from Upper St. Clair, that the original script was set in Western Pennsylvania and that it included an even greater emphasis on the class difference between the Kimbrough and Kaminsky families. This theme was developed as a significant element in the Easy-Marg relationship, but was there even more on the cutting room floor?---------------------------------------------------------------------------