Sitting in Bars with Cake Movie Review


“Sitting in Bars with Cake” has an unusual premise. The beginning will almost have you considering something else to watch, but as the story progresses, it turns into something entirely different from the opening that has you discovering what’s behind the curtain. ​

It becomes so much more enthralling; you’ll want to stay and see what happens. Why is that? It’s based on a true story. It took reading the postscript at the end of the film for me to accept that, primarily based on how it unfolded. It’s from a blog and then a book written by Audrey Shulman. Her book discusses how difficult it is to find love in a big city.


Corinne, played by the lovely Odessa A’zion (Love, Ghosts), has a best friend and roommate, Jane, played by Yara Shahidi from “Black-ish,” “Peter Pan & Wendy” and the upcoming “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie.” Jane likes to help her somewhat delicate pal feel better by ensuring she gets her carbs and happiness by eating the cakes she likes to create.


Jane is about to attend law school to please her parents, Fred (Ron Livingston from “The End of the Tour”) and Ruth (Martha Kelly from Marriage Story). Jane loves to bake and eats most of the sweets herself. That’s not a recipe for success. Luckily, she has friends to share them with, especially Corinne.

Jane works in the mailroom of a law firm and has a crush on Owen (Rish Shah). Corinne works at a music agency called “The Agency to the Stars,” run by Benita, played by Bette Midler. Midler starred in “The Rose” and “Beaches.” That Stunning actress is not found in this character, which is, luckily, not seen much. She has very few scenes. Those she does have are ridiculous. Corinne, who wants to be a junior executive, works her butt off for her eccentric boss. It’s difficult, but she somehow pleases Benita despite her burdensome requirements.


When not at work, Corinne and her other friends drag Jane out of the house to hopefully meet the love of her life. Then, the movie turns more into a story about Jane and her cakes. Corrine, knowing that sugar is a natural aphrodisiac, wants Jane to take her cakes to bars “On the regular.” They plan to take fifty cakes to fifty bars and see how it goes! Surely, they’ll attract men. They get a map of the immediate area and speak of which bars to go to, who they’d find there, and think about which cakes to cook for which types of customers.

This scene might have been great on paper, but it wasn’t the least bit intriguing. In fact, it had the earmarks of two high schoolers excited about a decent score on a test.


The movie concentrates on this for a bit, then changes into a terrible illness that suddenly springs out of nowhere. Corrine has a horrible Tonic Clonic, which used to be referred to as a Grand Mal seizure. It would have been good for her to have just had a seizure disorder she was unaware of, but the doctor tells her that her CT scan shows that Corrine has a large amount of inflammation on her frontal lobe. She’s told she can no longer drive, swim, or bathe alone. She’s sent to oncology because her symptoms tell the doctor this could be due to a tumor. Corrine’s parents want to take her back to Phoenix with them, where there is an outstanding Mayo Clinic, but Corrine doesn’t want to leave. She has Jane, who volunteers to help Corrine with anything that might come up.


The meat is that the title and the actual film don’t fit. The writer who wanted to tell Audrey’s story and the director working to do it don’t seem to gel. It takes until a third of the movie has gone by before you realize what you’ve gotten yourself into.

It turns into a severe film worth your time, not the comedy it initially seemed to be.


There is some terrible dialogue and confusion until it finds its footing as Corrine battles her disease and her existential crisis. In the end, there’s a beautiful scene between Jane and Corrine, where Jane tells her dying friend that she’ll live her life for the both of them and that it’s okay for Corrine to let go. Jane’s a better caretaker than Corrine’s mother. She’s odd altogether.


That scene is ruined by the sequences following that put characters in places they weren’t a moment earlier. If there’s any finger-pointing at what made this movie less successful than it could have been, it goes to director Trish Sie, who, outside of “Pitch Perfect 3,” really only has music videos and shorts behind her. Perhaps this project will help her learn from her mistakes and become a better filmmaker, especially if she’s asked to paint the narrative of a real person’s life. Luckily, the actors carry their weight and save what could have been a complete bomb. It was a heavy subject; I’m just not sure it didn’t deserve someone more skilled to give it to us.

Sitting in Bars with Cake


Director: Trish Sie
Writer: Audrey Shulman
Starring: Yara Shahidi, Odessa A’zion, Bette Midler, Martha Kelly, Ron Livingston

Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2h
Genres: Romance, Drama, Comedy

Distributor: Amazon Studios
Producers: Susan Cartsonis, Suzanne Farwell, Nick Moceri, Brent Emery
Production Co: Amazon Studios, All Night Diner, Resonate Entertainment


Release Date (Theaters): Sep 8, 2023
Release Date (Streaming): Sep 8, 2023


Rating contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. Though it's difficult to answer this question when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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