|Written by Dan Macintosh|
|Tuesday, 21 June 2005|
“Cake Boy” is an odd little punk rock film. It tells the ironic story of Selwyn (played by Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals), who is a master at decorating cakes for a creepy little exotic cake shop. But the art of forming nipples on the tops of freaky desserts is not a fulfilling career choice, so go figure. Furthermore, Selwyn’s girlfriend takes out all her physical aggression upon this poor little chef. Selwyn decides to leave his mean girl and dead end job behind to take up a new life as a punk rock roadie. But this plan soon proves the truism that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Ultimately, this is the story of Selwyn’s various trials and errors, before he finally discovers his life’s true calling.
This film was produced by Joe Escalante (also of The Vandals), and while it’s obviously a low-budget endeavor, it nevertheless tells a compelling story. Much like Job in the Bible, everything bad seems to happen to Selwyn -- and for no real good reason. Even though he’s a graduate from a culinary arts college, some of his cake customers still aren’t satisfied with his work. For instance, one perverted shopper is upset with the chocolate sprinkles he uses for the hair on a vagina cake. (Okay, you’d probably have to see this scene for yourself to truly get it.)
The movie opens with Selwyn attempting to get help from an abuse support center. But because he is a relatively strong-looking fellow, nobody at this clinic truly believes his girlfriend could ever harm him, and so they proceed to just laugh him out of the place. When he returns home, his aggressive mate Becky buries him underneath a bookshelf, simply because she’s found a red hair on his clothes. But after the physical damage is already done, this lone hair turns out to have been shed by Becky’s mother.
Next, Selwyn wisely decides to leave his highly dangerous mate behind. Unfortunately, this escape plan turns out to be an equally bad decision. His neighbor, who is a clueless and mean-spirited band manager, just happens to be taking his band, No Use For A Name (playing themselves), on tour. This manager also needs a new “clicker.” A “clicker,” as this dopey guy explains to Selwyn, is the person that counts the paying customers at a band gig with a handheld clicker. When Selwyn begs this manager to take him on the road with the band, he’s told that he must do everything the touring group asks him to do. But Selwyn is so desperate at this point, he gladly agrees to these one-sided conditions.
These struggling rock and rollers nickname Selwyn Cake Boy and then make him jump at their every whim. They even send him into a poop-smattered gas station restroom. But before long, Selwyn’s had more than enough of this particular kind of abuse, and so the group kicks him out of their motor home where he must fend for himself.
Oddly enough, this is right when Selwyn’s luck begins to change for the better. He quickly gets a job baking at a diner. And while this may not be as creative as making erotic cakes, at least he doesn’t have to feed customers with perverted appetites. The owner of this joint sets Selwyn up on a date with his cousin, which the lonely lad and romantically-wronged baker agrees to readily. When he meets Lilly at a bar, she turns out to be paralyzed from the waist down, but being the nice guy that he is, Selwyn drinks too much, dances with Lilly, and even goes home with her. When he wakes up, he realizes that he’s just had sex with an invalid the night before. This fills him with guilt, and makes him wonder just what else can go wrong in his pathetic little life.
After his guilt wears off, however, it dawns upon Selwyn that he really likes this girl. She’s the first female he’d really been able to have a decent and deep conversation with in a long time. Next, the film takes another strange turn.
This film’s extras include commentary from the movie’s director and star, deleted scenes, a little information about the production company Kung Fu Films, DVD credits, a “Making Of” featurette, other options, a trailer, and few links. The best of these extra bits is the “Making Of” featurette, because it reveals specifically why this was undoubtedly a low-budget labor of love.
Granted, this labor of love fantasy story is more than just a little unbelievable. But that’s okay, because the film’s producers play up all of its humorous, beyond belief plot lines. Remember, this movie’s style can best be described as a punk film. And like punk rock music, the producers make it look outlandish in order to grab your attention. But once you get past the odd surface of it all, you realize there is a deep and heartfelt story to tell.
If perchance a major Hollywood studio had produced a film such as this one, where an invalid was one of its primary love interests, you can best believe this studio would have played this factor up for all of the tear-jerking imaginable. But in the hands of these indie Kung Fu folks, this girl’s role is just one part of a fairly multifaceted work. But more than just that, the story of Selwyn is an age-old tale of a man in search of his dreams. And as is the case for most dreamers, one must many times travel a series of wrong paths before finally discovering the right road. Lastly, it’s also a film that teaches the value of choosing good friends and lovers. In Selwyn’s case, he suffered the consequences of making a few bad people choices, but when he finally makes the right decision with Lilly, it more than pays off.
If you’ve been spoiled by big-budget Hollywood films, you might be a little put off by the look and feel of this little film. But once you get past your expectations, and look to the heart of its creators, you will likely be impressed by this little-engine-that-could effort, because it’s a gem.