Exhibit No. 546 in the ongoing case against madcap ensemble comedies set against holiday- and wedding-related reunions, "April's Shower" crams a dozen one-note characters into a gloomy Los Angeles Craftsman for the express purpose of perpetrating yet another senseless zany-bomb attack on the assembled guests. The occasion is a bridal shower for April (Maria Cina), a closeted lesbian whose wounded former lover Alex (Trish Doolan, who also directs) has been cornered into hosting the shindig.
Guests include a repressed therapist with a screaming Scottish stalker; a city-struck, pigtailed cousin from Albany; a porn-star future sister-in-law; a bisexual Argentine entertainer; a hunky pizza guy; a couple of publicly feuding lesbians; a distraught Catholic mother; some firemen -- I think I'll stop there. Confessions, shocking revelations and epiphanies spring like sudden leaks, and the dialogue is artless and predictable. "April's Shower" is clearly a labor of love, to the point where it feels churlish and mean-spirited not to like it. But the movie suffers from a malady common to tiny indies of the let's-put-on-a-show variety -- it strains for irrepressibly nutty, but lands squarely in annoying.
It's too bad, given the paucity of truly independent films, especially ones that realistically portray contemporary relationships.
But "April's Shower" feels too self-congratulatory to be honest, and honesty is all a movie like this has going for it.
-- Carina Chocano
"April's Shower," rated R for language, sexual content and some drug use. Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-3500.