With the very first young generation since WWII predicted not to do better economically in life than their parents, and facing in many cases unemployment and enormous college debt, expect movies by young filmmakers to follow suit. And the advent of ironically titled movies like Five Star Day about, well, predictions. Or in this case, a profound youthful cynicism about prophesy.
Cam Gigandet, moving on from his nasty vampire stint in Twilight and more recently hitting on a repelled Nicole Kidman in Trespass, is Jake Gibson in Five Star Day. A Los Angeles techie, moonlighting college student and astrology fanatic, Gibson is certain that his encouraging horoscope and hopeful alignment of the stars, has sealed a promising future for him.
But in rapid succession, Gibson is laid off with only a two weeks severance deal when his company downsizes, catches his live-in girlfriend having sex with somebody else in their kitchen, and has his car stolen before his eyes. Deeply disenchanted by now with astrology but determined to prove the uselessness of predictability in a somewhat scientific fashion, Gibson proposes his inquiry as a class project to his rather skeptical professor (Nick Chinlund).
And which the decidedly pessimistic but still inquisitive student plans as a cross-country quest in search of three people born in his same Chicago hospital the very same day. This, in order to confirm his thesis that their disparate fates despite the same horoscope, will definitively prove that prophesy is an illusion, and horoscopes suck.
Too bad that the premise of Five Star Day is substantially more involving than the payoff. Which in large part and in contrast to its negative feelings about astrology, tends toward, well, predictability. Especially when all three people pursued by Gibson are discovered to share a deep funk contradicting their identical horoscopes. Chicago drug counselor Yvette (Brooklyn Sudano) barely gets enough screen time to flesh out her story. And Atlantic City bottom feeder lounge singer Wesley (Max Hartman) is just too old to play the same age as Gigandet, looking more like the dejected dude’s father.
And when Gibson pursues his most uncooperative human subject Sarah (Jenna Malone) – a struggling single mother initially freaked out that he may be a stalker – you already know where this accidental encounter is headed, whether the stars are aligned or not. A narrative path in this debut feature of writer/director Danny Buday, which tends to confuse the concept of fate with contrivance.
Five Star Day, essentially a two star movie, nevertheless feels heartfelt and emotionally genuine, with cast performances coming off as raw and real. The problem lies in the situations within which their personalities are led to unravel, lives that seem more like they’ve been imagined than drawn from the limited experiences of this young filmmaker.
Breaking Glass Pictures