God, Sex & Apple Pie Movie Review
Paul Leaf's updating of The Big Chill -- in keeping with the jaded '90s, none of its characters are exactly "good" or even tolerable for long stretches -- is funny and nearly whimsical, but it's so derivative it's hard to get past its knockoff status. Sure enough, we've got a collection of characters sequestered in a remote cabin for a booze-fueled weekend. There will be sexual hijinks galore before it's done, but in a terribly dark turn, a number of the characters will face life-altering futures. (Divorce? Prison? Death? You be the judge.)
This gallows streak gives God, Sex & Apple Pie a real creepy edge that's hard to overcome. I love black comedy, but this gets to the point of such ridiculous unreality that you cease to care how any of these characters' lives will turn out -- no matter how much vomit they step in.
The acting is hit and miss (most of the players come from small parts in episodic TV or B movies) but far above the level of most indies. Leaf's direction is quite good (and he shot on 35mm instead of video, God bless 'im!). In the end, it's clear Jerome Courshon's script creates most of the limitations on where the movie can go. Of special note in the cast is Penelope Crabtree, who's best known (I guess) as a stuntwoman but steals the show in a Fredericks of Hollywood getup near the end of the film. Writer Phil Palisoul also has a memorable performance (his sole career acting gig) as a much-abused mailman that is inexplicably friends with the high society types that gather over the weekend.
Hard to pan but hard to recommend, I suggest renting this one and downing copious alcohol along the way. It'll make it plenty funny, I promise. By the way, be sure to check out the DVD outtakes for the cold, hard truth about how sex scenes get filmed.