One-dimensional characters tread familiar territory in “April’s Shower”
Directed by Trish Doolan
Distributed by Regent Releasing
Opens Jan. 13
Maria Cina as the title character, and Trish Doolan, who also wrote and directed, as Alex, her former lover, and the gracious hostess, who nonetheless derails her ex’s plans, in “April’s Shower.”
Written, produced, directed by, and starring Trish Doolan, “April’s Shower” is a labor of love that teeters on the brink of being a vanity production. Just as her character Alex invites friends, family, and people she doesn’t know or even like into her house for the bridal shower she’s giving for April (Maria Cina), Doolan appears to be too magnanimous a filmmaker to worry about her ego. Alex soldiers on as her sense of self is crushed by the fact that the woman she loves is about to marry a man, and in similar fashion Doolan’s selflessness is all about making sure others have a good time.
And some audiences are likely to enjoy “April’s Shower,” an overenthusiastic, independent romantic comedy in which relationships gay, straight, and bisexual are ended, started, and rekindled. Doolan’s film reinforces messages about being true to one’s self and never giving up on finding love and happiness that should resonate with the target audience.
Unfortunately, most viewers will feel this film is a party they have already attended. The characters invited to “April’s Shower” are mostly one-dimensional—the gay male best friend, the haughty bitch, the woman who wants a baby, the mother going through the change of life, and the rest—and their familiar comic bits grow stale as soon as they are introduced. Most of the performers play their roles so broadly that the actors reinforce their characters’ stereotypes.
Once everyone arrives at Alex’s house, the hostess drops the bomb that before April met her fiancé Paulie (Randall Batinkoff), they were lovers. April’s God-loving mother gets hysterical, while the other guests are shocked, surprised, or delighted. The rest of the film is about Alex and April working out their feelings for one another while the others deal with their own relationship issues. There is much kissing and slapping, making it sitcom-y in an unfunny way.
The film’s best moments involve Sasha (co-producer Honey Labrador), one half of a troubled lesbian couple consulting various party guests as she paints in one of the rooms in Alex’s house. It may be a tired device of the outsider providing insight into strangers’ problems, but Labrador has such a magnetic screen presence that she makes even her passionate kiss with a hunky pizza delivery guy (Frank Grillo) sexy.
“April’s Shower” is not without a few smiles—Joe Tabbanella and Denise Miller as Alex’s best friends are engaging, especially in the film’s first reel—and Doolan is appealing throughout. Maria Cina isn’t much of an actress, but she is shot in soft focus so she’s absolutely radiant. If nothing else, this low budget film looks good with attractive actors giving energetic performers.
Which makes it more of a shame “April’s Shower” is not a more memorable affair.