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God, Sex, and Apple Pie

What happens when nine people spend the weekend in a fabulous house talking love, sex, and relationships? No, its not the new 30 something version of MTV’s The Real World, it’s God, Sex, and Apple Pie, an independent film which journey’s into the psyche of America’s rapidly aging generation X, but never seems to quite make it back out again.

God, Sex, and Apple Pie is the story of nine friends, brought together on their yearly reunion in anywhere USA. It’s also the story of nine-stereotypes doing all the things you expect them to do. The artist, the musician, the corporate tool, the reporter, the frustrated housewife, the super-model, the emotionally damaged girlfriend, the geek, and so on. And as their weekend romp progresses, each person’s life slowly dissolves in an acid wash of truth and consequences served up with a healthy side of regret.

But for a group of friends re-united, this bunch comes off remarkably uneasy. One might think they’d never met before, if not for the frequent references to their shared past. In a sense, this uneasiness seems to isolate each character in his own little world, making meaningful interaction difficult to pull off, and even harder to believe.

Yet, as their weekend turns from bad to worse, with each person’s character flaws magnified and scrutinized for all the rest to see, it’s easy to find yourself caring about these one-dimensional puppets. They may dance to an old and often heard tune, but director Paul Leaf does manage to breathe a little life into these tried and true cutouts. Even though I for one am not certain any of these characters actually learn anything from their bit of tribulation, it is interesting to watch them struggle with the issues they encounter.

Perhaps God, Sex, and Apple Pie simply needs more depth to its mottled surface. In fact there seems to be a total absence of sub-plot what so ever. The film struggles so much to be truly genuine, with honestly written dialogue and heartfelt expressions from one and all, but continues to be hampered by the one-dimensional nature of its characters. Maybe if the people here really were as AVERAGE as writer Jerome Courshon seems to want them to be, perhaps then we could get a better grasp on the motivation and spirit of these people.

However, it’s to this films credit, that unlike most indie films, this one doesn’t waste time trying to prove how different it is from everything else. There are no unnecessary curveballs thrown in, just to make a point, as one so often finds in less successful indie films. And in a way that’s a welcome relief. In fact, the entire thing maintains such a polished and shiny level of professionalism, its almost easy to believe its not an independent film at all. Leaf and Courshon are truly trying to make a genuine hearted film here, one that goes straight to the core of real people in America. That kind of honesty is rare, and even amidst these cookie-cutter characters it shines through. That alone is enough to keep most people interested in where this film goes, and it kept me watching right through to the end.

God, Sex, and Apple Pie is an honest, and well-crafted effort from a talented group of filmmakers. And while it misses on many levels, the film’s honesty and clarity make it a welcome bit of viewing.