- Movie Rating -

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? (1983)

| April 20, 1984

I guess when it comes to Upper West Side Manhattan quirkiness, I’ll stick with Woody Allen.  In Can She Bake a Cherry Pie director Henry Jaglom wants to create a uniquely crazy Manhattan world but I feel that I’ve already been here many times.  He’s not really showing me anything new.  He seems to want this to be a comedy of manners where the actors speak in a way that never feels scripted and I appreciate the effort.  It doesn’t work exactly, but I appreciate it.

Karen Black plays Zee, a nutty woman whose husband has just walked out on her and she soon meets an eccentric named Eli at a cafe who notices her crying into her menu.  They’re both odd people.  Eli hangs up side down in his closet as therapy, while Zee dresses for summer like its early fall.  The style of the film is to have the actors simply talk.  The chatter away in funny, quirky sentences that seem to come from their psyche and not from the page.

That approach is refreshing.  How many movies have dialogue that is about nothing but the plot?  Yet, I might have liked Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? a lot more if there were less of it to love.  The technique of allowing the characters to speak for themselves wears thin as the movie approaches its third act when you realize that they have nothing of significance to say.  It is fine to be quirky and odd but that only goes so far.  I liked the introductions here but I quickly grew tired of the eccentrics and wanted to move downtown to something a little more grounded.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy