Pieces Of April

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OPENS FEBRUARY 20, CERT 15, 81 MINS

An overwrought directorial debut from quirky comedy writer Peter Hedges (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, About A Boy). Katie Holmes pseudo-slums it in neo-punk pigtails and goth mascara as the eponymous April Burns, the bad-apple daughter in skidsville Manhattan aiming to appease her stiff suburban family with a Thanksgiving meal. Only problem is… her oven’s busted, her effete neighbour kidnaps her turkey, her doughnut-addicted mother is dying of cancer, her brother’s a pothead, her sister’s hysterical, her granny’s senile and her boyfriend just might be a double-dealing gangsta.

Which would be pure comedy bonanza if this was a gag-a-minute Ivan Reitman comedy, but here, amid the shaky grey pixels, rough sound and worthy pretensions (a wordless freeze-frame sequence), it all seems a bit fake. Added to which is the ending, crashing unceremoniously into view on 81 minutes, resolving all plot-lines with a syrupy musical montage.

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