Miss Cleo and her contemporary ilk, astrology has fascinated human beings for millennia. 75% of newspapers run a daily horoscope column and 29% of Americans say they believe in astrology, according to statistics cited in the new rom-com 5 Star Day. The film opens theatrically in Los Angeles today after serving as the closing night film of last week's Beverly Hills Film, New Media & TV Festival.
Easy-on-the-eyes rising star Cam Gigandet (Twilight, Burlesque) plays his first lead role as Jake, a Berkeley philosophy student who sets out to document the fallacy of trusting in horoscopes. Jake becomes disillusioned after his birthday message promising a "5 star day" proves decidedly inaccurate: he loses his job, catches his girlfriend cheating on him, has his car stolen and must evacuate his apartment, which floods following a water break. Happy birthday!
To support his thesis, Jake identifies three other people who were born within five minutes of himself in the same Chicago hospital. He tracks each of them down across the US and interviews them about their birthday experiences to see if all four shared similar misfortune. The first he meets is Sarah Reynolds (Jena Malone, now nicely grown up), a bartender with a young daughter and a druggie ex-boyfriend. Jake's interest in Sarah quickly becomes more than academic.
5 Star Day, written and directed by Danny Buday, has its charms but is more often than not overly talky and serious. The screenplay crams way too many philosophical lessons learned, many of them cliches, into its final ten minutes. A lighter touch on Buday's part would have likely made the film more entertaining as well as more endearing. Gigandet carries the film well on his shapely shoulders, and it is beautifully lit and shot.
Given the enduring appeal of astrology, 5 Star Day may well find an appreciative audience despite its shortcomings.
Reverend's Rating: C+
Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Blade California.