Sitting in Bars with Cake Parent Guide
This film has found the recipe for combining cancer and comedy.
Parent Movie Review
It’s not only in romance that opposites attract: best friends Corinne (Odessa A’zion) and Jane (Yara Shahidi) couldn’t be more different. Corinne is a spontaneous extrovert who is trying to be promoted to junior agent at the music talent agency where she works. Jane delivers mail at the agency while spending her off hours baking elaborate cakes and half-heartedly preparing to write the LSAT so she can apply to law school and fulfil her parents’ dreams.
Worried about her friend’s quiet life, Corinne has a brain wave: Jane should bring her delicious cakes to bars because the amazing confections are sure to grab the attention of nearby men. Jane protests but Corinne persists and the two women decide to take 50 cakes to nearby bars.
“Cakebarring” succeeds in helping Jane meet people and boost her confidence, but just as she’s getting into the swing of things, Corinne collapses on the floor of their apartment. She’s diagnosed with a brain tumor and Jane switches gears as she devotes herself to the care of her friend. There’s just one thing – Corinne doesn’t want the cake project to stop.
I must begin this review by saying how much I hate cancer movies. Having just finished this film, I am a sobbing, snotty mess and my stomach hurts from crying. I honestly don’t understand why people keep making and watching these things. I do it because it’s my job but, my goodness, I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.
Personal biases aside, Sitting in Bars with Cake stands out by not being a romantic cancer film; this is a story about the incredible power of friendship. Jane and Corinne have a deep and powerful bond that’s based on affection, loyalty, an honest recognition of their differences, and admiration for each other’s strengths. Anyone who has ever had a lifelong, bone-deep friendship will appreciate this depiction of the emotional depth of these relationships. This is a story of friendship, love, unselfishness, and devotion, and it’s deeply affecting. It’s also based on a true story, which makes it feel more intense.
The biggest surprise about Sitting in Bars with Cake is that it manages to combine comedy with heartache. It’s almost impossible to make a funny cancer movie without looking insensitive but this production has found a recipe and successfully balanced the ingredients. I think its success is primarily due to the authentic relationship between Jane and Corinne, making it possible for them to crack jokes in the good times and the bad. The humor feels real and lightens what could be a somber plot.
Unfortunately, this otherwise uplifting movie comes with an unwanted garnish of negative content. Alcohol and drug use is problematic, with characters frequently consuming alcohol and occasionally getting drunk. They also get high after eating a cake decorated with marijuana-laced candies. In addition, the script features over three dozen profanities: most are terms of deity but there are also scatological curses and a sexual expletive. In addition, there is some sexual conversation, implied sexual activity, and a scene of burlesque dancing with scantily clad dancers behaving provocatively. The MPA rating for this movie is PG-13, but I think Amazon’s 16+ rating is more accurate. Honestly, this isn’t a movie little kids are going to want to watch but older genre fans will get a full serving of all the feelings they expect.Directed by Trish Sie. Starring Yara Shahidi, Odessa A’zion, Bette Midler. Running time: 120 minutes. Theatrical release September 8, 2023. Updated September 22, 2023
Watch the trailer for Sitting in Bars with Cake
Sitting in Bars with Cake
Rating & Content Info
Why is Sitting in Bars with Cake rated PG-13? Sitting in Bars with Cake is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong language, some drug use, sexual references and thematic elements.
Violence: A person collapses and has a seizure. A surgical scar is briefly seen. A woman puts a spreading knife to a man’s face. An angry person deliberately throws ceramics on the ground to break them. A person dies of natural causes off screen.
Sexual Content: A woman receives an unwanted text but the image is not clearly visible on screen. There is a scene of burlesque dancing: people are scantily clad, dance suggestively, and hit each other. A man and woman kiss. Women shop for and discuss lingerie. There is some brief sexual innuendo. A woman asks a man to have sex and starts removing her top.
Profanity: The script contains a single sexual expletive, almost three dozen terms of deity, and a handful of scatological curses, minor profanities, and crude anatomical terms. A pejorative term for women is also used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are multiple scenes of adults drinking alcohol in bars and at other social events. They sometimes appear impaired. There’s mention of CBD bubble bath. A parent gives her child THC (marijuana) for headaches. (It’s legal in the state of California) A main character makes cake with marijuana candies and people get high eating it.
Page last updated September 22, 2023
Loved this movie? Try these books…
This movie is based on the book Sitting in Bars with Cake: Lessons and Recipes from One Year of Trying to Bake My Way to a Boyfriend and a blog by Audrey Shulman.
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Another film about cancer and friendship is Our Friend, the story of how Nicole and Matt cope with her terminal cancer with the help of their longtime friend, Dane.
When Sol is diagnosed with cancer, he and Jenny decide to go ahead with their planned wedding in All My Life, which is based on a true story.
For an life example of how a community can help a cancer patient, you can watch Spidermable: A Real Life Superhero Story. When four year old Mable has cancer, her entire city comes together to make her Spiderman dreams come true. This is the only cancer movie that ever had me cry happy tears. (You can find this on iTunes or Vimeo.)