A Piece of Cake Parent Guide
This treat-laden story looks sweet but it contains some unpleasant surprises.
Parent Movie Review
A Piece of Cake opens with some backstory. Years ago, elfkin in the German city of Cologne spent their nights sewing for the overwhelmed local tailor. They were never thanked for their meticulous work and when the tailor’s wife tried to ambush them, they left for good. The result? Generations of distrust towards humans while the elfkin built their communities underground in order to avoid their oversized neighbors.
Young Elfie (Madi Monroe) is starting to wonder if her fellow elfkin have lost the plot. The accident-prone elf is straining against her town’s rules and the requirement that everyone master a craft before they receive a full sized hat. (I think the hats make them look like garden gnomes instead of elves, but, hey, to each their own.) In a fit of rebellion, Elfie decides to head for the human world on the surface, find her passion, and master a craft. Along with some hapless friends, she winds up in modern Germany and discovers that baked goods are her destiny.
The elfkin quickly end up in a derelict baking shop owned by Theo (Sonny Hurrell). Discouraged by the collapse of his business, the master baker is being bullied by his jealous brother Bruno (Steve Jacob) who holds Theo’s debts and is planning to seize the bakery, bulldoze it, and build a baked goods factory. When Elfie hears this tale of woe, her goal is clear: she’s going to help Theo save his shop while also becoming a proficient baker, thereby earning her own tall hat.
The best thing about A Piece of Cake is its strong message about looking beyond prejudice and stereotypes. Elfie has been raised with some horrible preconceptions about humans: “Humans just can’t be nice. They are dastardly, unappreciative, and much too large.” “Humans eat elfkins for breakfast even with our hats.” “Humans are sneaky, lazy bums. There’s nothing to learn from them.” Fortunately, Elfie challenges these assertions,” How do you know? You don’t know any humans!” Elfie sets a good example for young viewers on challenging bigoted assumptions and learning to appreciate different kinds of people. In addition, she also teaches Theo and Bruno (and young audiences) to learn how to settle conflicts and work cooperatively.
On the downside (and it’s a pretty steep slope), A Piece of Cake has a phenomenally annoying quirk that I have never seen in another movie. The characters moan, groan, sigh, and generally hem and haw repeatedly through the film. It’s as irritating as bunking with a snoring roommate and by the end of the movie, every “Hmmm” felt like nails on a blackboard.
Minor details aside, the film’s biggest flaw is its full-throated endorsement of helping others so you can fulfill your own agenda. Once Elfie decides that she’s going to help Theo, nothing gets in her way. Not his objections, not even when he’s hospitalized for a concussion (caused by yet another Elfie-induced accident). Determined to achieve her goals, Elfie and her friends wheel the unconscious Theo out of the hospital and manipulate his limbs like a marionette so he can sell the goods that she has baked. It’s a disturbing look at a character who thinks she’s being selfless and helpful but who is actually behaving in a profoundly selfish manner, ignoring her friend’s need to heal and his right to have agency over his own life. This is a toxic relationship dynamic that should not be fed to unsuspecting child viewers.
On the surface, A Piece of Cake looks like the average low-level kids’ animated movie. It’s bright and colorful, the animation is suitably plastic, the songs are forgettable, the themes are ostensibly positive. But parents will want to be careful. Just as too many cupcakes can cause cavities, the themes in this storyline could teach young viewers some damaging relationship patterns.Directed by Ute von Münchow-Pohl. Starring Madi Monroe, Sonny Hurrell, Steve Jacob. Running time: 78 minutes. Theatrical release November 9, 2021. Updated November 12, 2021
Watch the trailer for A Piece of Cake
A Piece of Cake
Rating & Content Info
Why is A Piece of Cake rated PG? A Piece of Cake is rated PG by the MPAA for mild action and rude material
Violence: There are brief moments of minor peril. A puppeteer tries to use a marionette to kick and hit a boy. A woman hits a dog with her purse, sending him flying into a billboard. There are frequent food fights. An elf accidentally causes a small fire. A man threatens his brother with eviction. A man attacks a building with heavy equipment. A man almost drowns. Men tussle with each other. A man puts elves in a cage.
Sexual Content: A boy rips the dress off a female marionette.
Profanity: Characters say “butt” and “farts”. There are fart jokes.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated November 12, 2021
A Piece of Cake Parents' Guide
Why does Elfie decide to help Theo? Is she doing it for his sake or to further her own goals? Do you think it’s bad if she combines both motivations? Is there a point at which she crosses a line? Do you think it’s ok to use Theo as a marionette so she can sell baked goods?
Why are Theo and Bruno estranged? What caused their rift? Why do you think Bruno was jealous? How could he have handled that emotion less destructively? What finally brings the brothers back together?
What are the young elfkins taught about humans? Where do those stereotypes originate? Have you ever been taught stereotyped information about a group of people? What can you do to find more accurate information?
Related home video titles:
In a far better (albeit much scarier) film, two elf brothers embark on a quest to complete a magical spell that will enable them to spend some time with their departed father in Onward.
Arthur Christmas tells the story of Arthur, son of Santa Claus, who works together with elves to deliver a gift to one child whose gift has been left behind.
Magical creatures help four human children navigate a parallel world in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
A young boy learns that magical creatures are real – and some of the are dangerous – in The Spiderwick Chronicles.
In The Princess and the Frog, a young woman dreams of opening her own restaurant, until she’s accidentally turned into a frog by a fast-talking amphibian.