Friendships are an essential part of life; they help us build connections, relieve stress and share the beauty of life with others. This type of bond is beautifully highlighted in the recently released comedy-drama “Sitting in Bars With Cake.”
Filled with unique desserts, off-key bar karaoke and moments that are sweeter than sugar, “Sitting in Bars With Cake” will make you laugh, cry and want to hug your best friends a little tighter.
Based on Audrey Shulman’s book of recipes and stories of the same title, the film stars Yara Shahidi (“Grown-ish”) and Odessa A’zion (“Grand Army”) as 20-something best friends Jane and Corinne. Corinne convinces Jane to bake a cake each week for a year and bring them to bars – an activity they call “cakebarring.”
A few weeks into their project, Corinne is diagnosed with brain cancer and the pair faces unexpected challenges, both personally and professionally.
The depiction of Corinne’s life following her diagnosis is a compelling part of the film. Her disease doesn’t just become the backdrop for the rest of the story; instead, it emphasizes her worldview, emotional growth and, more than anything, how Jane selflessly cares for her.
To my surprise, “Sitting in Bars With Cake” does an excellent job of balancing humor with the seriousness of Corinne’s circumstances. The jokes feel natural and effortless overall, a testament to the chemistry between the cast.
Some of the most hilarious lines occur in short scenes that I couldn’t resist rewinding to watch a second time. A particularly notable moment is when Jane, intoxicated from eating her own CBD-infused cake, defends Corinne against an arrogant man at a bar by smearing frosting on his face.
Jane and Corinne’s friendship is so beautiful and pure. They hold each other accountable and inspire each other to follow their dreams. Corinne pushes Jane out of her comfort zone from the beginning, encouraging her to embrace her love for baking instead of becoming a lawyer to please her parents.
It is heartwarming to see how both women go above and beyond for the other, but I especially love how healthy their friendship is. They apologize when they’re wrong, create a safe space for vulnerability and agree to late-night fast food runs without hesitation.
Shahidi and A’zion do an excellent job of bringing this real-life story together alongside a cast of lesser-known actors. Martha Kelly and Ron Livingston are fitting as Corinne’s parents, Ruth and Fred. Ruth is levelheaded and unintentionally funny, often having to reel in her loving and overprotective husband.
I was delighted to see Maia Mitchell (“The Fosters”) in a small role as a member of Jane and Corinne’s friend group, mainly because it’s the first time I’ve seen her act without adopting an American accent.
By the end of the film, cakebarring is much more than a fun project for Jane and Corinne. It gives Jane social skills, self-confidence and the courage to pursue her passion. On the other hand, Corinne is reminded that life is meant to be fun and full of adventures with loved ones. The two best friends strengthen their bond and create unforgettable memories.
All in all, “Sitting in Bars With Cake” depicts the purest form of friendship: where two people love each other unconditionally, without judgment and in their darkest times. It’s definitely worth a watch, but make sure you have a fresh box of tissues nearby – and maybe even a slice of cake.