.

Pieces of April

Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson

Directed by Peter Hedges
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
October 9, 2003

Making the move from TV to movies is a slippery slope. Look at the cast of Friends (Jennifer Aniston excepted). The jury is still out on Katie Holmes, just off a five-year run on Dawson's Creek. She's already done films, proving sexy (OK, she's always that) and smart in supporting roles (The Ice Storm, Go, Wonder Boys, The Gift). But her big star shot last year as a college psycho in Abandon failed to impress critics or audiences.

Pieces of April, a playful comedy laced with heartbreak that wowed them at Sundance, should put things right. Holmes has her best screen role to date as April, a screw-up to her suburban family. April lives in a dumpy Manhattan walk-up; her boyfriend (Derek Luke of Antwone Fisher) is black — you get the picture. To mend wounds, April invites her mom (Patricia Clarkson), dad (Oliver Platt), sister (Alison Pill), brother (John Gallagher Jr.) and granny (Alice Drummond) to drive down for Thanksgiving dinner. She can't cook, but, damn it, she will.

It sounds like sitcom pap. But writer Peter Hedges (About a Boy, What's Eating Gilbert Grape), making an encouragingly nonpushy debut as a director, is too good for that. Even mom's terminal cancer doesn't turn the film maudlin, thanks to Clarkson, who is scrappy perfection in the role. But it's Holmes who holds Pieces together. Whether she's begging for cooking tips from her black neighbors (Lillias White and Isiah Whitlock) or fighting with a bitchy tenant (Sean Hayes of Will and Grace), Holmes nails every laugh without missing the dramatic nuances. She makes April and her movie well worth knowing.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Whoomp! (There It Is)”

    Tag Team | 1993

    Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com