`God’ isn’t one with us

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
November 10, 2000

2 stars

“God, Sex & Apple Pie” is being marketed as the next “Big Chill.”

“Little Shiver” is more like it.

God Sex and Apple PieWritten by Park Forest native Jerome Courshon, who stars in the film as a conflicted artist, “God, Sex & Apple Pie” tackles the lives of seven narcissistic friends who hit 30 a few years back but aren’t ready to deal with adulthood. They cheat on their wives and steal from their employers. They lust after each other’s careers and they whine. A lot.

Makes you wonder why the new girlfriends of two of these men would even want to stick around for the remainder of a drawn-out weekend for which they have all gathered.

The nine are a hodgepodge of white Americana and are set up to represent the thick line between the haves and the have nots. The lawyer is married to the investment broker, while the cheating television reporter is thinking about divorcing the suspicious housewife. The struggling artist hooks up with a model, while the struggling musician gives his secretary girlfriend a hard time.

And then there’s the bitter, alcoholic postal worker whose dreams of becoming a stand-up comic have never materialized. He, of course, has no girlfriend.

Balding and not nearly as attractive as any of his friends, Ron is the type of guy who yammers on about his deviated septum. Explaining that his doctor used medicinal cocaine on his nose, he says, “Now I’m selling all my boogers as crack.”

Portrayed by Phil Palisoul, who injects much-needed humanity into his role, Ron proves to be one of the more likable characters. He pretends to be nothing that he isn’t and has no problems pointing out his friends’ pretentious faults.

Compare him to the investment broker and his attorney wife. Both are successful enough to house their friends in an extravagant cabin. But when–after learning that he might be indicted on insider trading–he tells her that he may quit the business to follow his dreams (whatever they might be), she seethes. She had wanted to quit her law practice to get a master’s degree. Now she’s worried they won’t have enough money for her to attend Northwestern University for two years.

Apparently, neither of these childless brainiacs realize that the net value of their second home would be more than enough to pay for both of them to go to graduate school at Harvard.

The fact is, there are few characters with whom to connect. Katy Kurtzman has a few nice scenes as the wife of the cheating reporter. When her husband tells her that the affair is over, she doesn’t believe him, and neither do we. When he complains to a bartender that he’d like a new life, we know that what he really means is that he wants to act without consequence.

These are not the type of people you’d want to spend 1½ hours with in a theater, much less three days in a secluded cabin.

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