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PIECES OF APRIL

In the edgy slacker odyssey Go, Katie Holmes showed talent that went beyond her teen-idol status from Dawson’s Creek. In Peter Hedges’s portrait of familiar dysfunction, she tries to further that promise. Her April, full of angst, yearning and indecision (not unlike her TV person), lives in a cramped New York apartment with her new boyfriend, Bobby (Derek Luke, who had such an impressive debut in Antwone Fisher). The interracial coupling casts shadows of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner when April invites her estranged family over for Thanksgiving. Problems ensue: April’s never cooked before, Bobby gets tangled up with a gang of BMX biker thugs, and the oven doesn’t work. Then there’s April’s family, imprisoned in a beat-up compact wagon where her controlling mother (Patricia Clarkson), waning from the ravages of cancer, prattles on about her daughter’s shortcomings and her father (Oliver Platt) is too eager to please.

Holmes may be ready to shoulder a film, but this isn’t quite it: as penned by Hedges, her April is too aloof and unsympathetic. Still, Clarkson (Station Agent) is superb, and Sean Hayes (Will and Grace) as the foppish upstairs neighbor obsessed with his state-of-the-art oven provides some biting comic relief.


Issue Date: October 24 - 30, 2003
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