The Birthday Cake parents guide

The Birthday Cake Parent Guide

The plot's recycled and so is the cast. This is practically eco-friendly filmmaking.

Overall D

Digital on Demand: When Gio delivers a birthday cake to his Uncle Angelo's home on the anniversary of his father's death, he gets caught up in a risky evening involving a suspected informant and the FBI. And lots of family secrets.

Release date June 16, 2021

Violence D
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is The Birthday Cake rated R? The MPAA rated The Birthday Cake R for pervasive language, violence, some sexual references, nudity and drug use

Run Time: 92 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Growing up, Gio (Shiloh Fernandez) was surrounded by criminals. Mobsters and corrupt cops made up almost his entire family, even if he didn’t know it until his father was found strangled in the trunk of his own car. Ten years later, Gio continues to honor the tradition that formed in the aftermath: he takes a cake baked by his mother, Sofia (Lorrain Bracco) to his Uncle Angelo’s (Val Kilmer) home to remember the anniversary of his father’s death. But this time, things are different. The FBI has taken an interest in the family business, and Gio has reason to believe they’ve turned his beloved cousin Leo (Emory Cohen) into an informant – a risky business, and not just for Leo. Even if the rest of the family is in the dark, Gio’s knowledge puts his life at risk, and delivering a cake is the least of his worries tonight.

The problem with trying to film a New York crime thriller is that there have been roughly a million of those films made, and it’s hard to make something original. Even the cast is recycled: half of them were also in Goodfellas. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, since Goodfellas is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed crime dramas since The Godfather, but this cast is an indicator species. It’s telling you that this film plans to color firmly inside the lines for the genre. There are no real surprises to be had here, just a tired rehashing of almost every gangster movie trope.

Honestly, the thing I was most excited about with this movie was Ewan McGregor. He’s right there on the poster and everything! Tragically, he’s in the movie for all of four minutes, if you include the voiceover narration sprinkled throughout. What’s worse is the narration is such an obvious collection of basic observations that I found them more annoying than anything. If you’ve managed to make me annoyed to hear from Ewan McGregor, something has gone badly wrong.

In sticking so closely to the conventions of the genre, this movie rackssup a non-trivial pile of content concerns. Foremost is the profanity, with 131 sexual expletives heaped onto the dialogue. While I’m sure this is realistic for the mob, it’s probably considerably less realistic for your living room at home. If that doesn’t dissuade you, then I should mention that this film also has illegal drug use, nudity, and a good deal of murder. Again, it’s nothing you don’t expect from the genre, but since the film fails to offer any really original concepts, you might as well go watch one of the classics instead. If you’re going to put up with a deluge of obscenity and violence, you ought to get it from the best.

Directed by Jimmy Giannopouolos. Starring Ewan McGregor, Shiloh Fernandez, Lorraine Bracco. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release June 16, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for The Birthday Cake

The Birthday Cake
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Birthday Cake rated R? The Birthday Cake is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language, violence, some sexual references, nudity and drug use

Violence: Numerous individuals (and one dog) are shot, beaten, tortured, threatened, and poisoned. There are references to strangulation.
Sexual Content: There are scenes depicting toplessness in a strip club. There are several crude sexual jokes and references to adultery. A phallic party balloon is shown as part of a bachelorette party.
Profanity: There are 161 sexual expletives, 29 scatological terms, and frequent use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are shown drinking, smoking (both tobacco and marijuana), and snorting cocaine. There are references to drug trafficking.

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Home Video

Related home video titles:

There are more than a few mob movies available (none of which are family friendly), including Martin Scorcese classics like The Irishman, Goodfellas, and Casino. The prototypical big screen depiction of an Italian crime family is The Godfather. If you’re looking for a female driven crime story, your options include The Kitchen, I’m Your Woman, and Widows.