5 Star Day: Film Review

Five Star Day Poster P
The stars don’t align for this high-concept, astrology themed comedy/drama.

The debut feature by American writer/director Danny Buday stars Cam Gigandet of "Twilight," "Burlesque" and "Easy A."

NEW YORK — This debut feature by writer/director Danny Buday features the sort of quirky, high-concept premise that fuels so many indie dramedies. A young man reads his horoscope on his birthday and discovers to his delight that he will have a “5 star day.” But things don’t work out that way, as he loses his job, his girlfriend and his car in quick succession.

Does he head to the nearest bar and get sloshed? No, as that would make for a pretty depressing, not to mention short, film. Instead, he decides to track down other people born at the same hospital on the same day and time to see if they’ve had a similar bad day so he can disprove astrology once and for all.

That the character, Jake Gibson (Cam Gigandet), is a part-time college student who manages to convince his professor that this would make a good class project doesn’t exactly make the idea more credible.

So, Jake gets on a cross-country plane to Chicago and manages to find three such individuals: Sarah (Jena Malone), a lonely single mother whose ex-husband is a drug addict; Yvette (Brooklyn Sudano), a harried social worker; and Wesley (Max Hartman), a cheesy Atlantic City lounge singer. Initially, and quite reasonably, put off by this stranger inquiring about their day, each claims that things are going just fine. But eventually they confess that they too have been misled by the stars.        

As you might imagine, Jake learns life lessons and finds love — try to guess with which character — along the way.

5 Star Dayhas some imaginative touches and boasts some fine elements, including Jason Oldak’s handsome lensing and a well-chosen indie rock score.

Gigandet, whose star has been rising thanks to his roles in such films as Twilight, Burlesque and Easy A, delivers a sensitive portrayal that proves he’s more than just a hunk. Malone is as appealing as always, and Hartman is wonderfully fun as the Buster Poindexter-like singer.

But the script lacks the depth to transcend its cutesy gimmick and — as with the misleading horoscopes that fuel the plot — the film never approaches a five star level.

Opens: Nov. 2 (Breaking Glass Pictures).
Production: Lucid Entertainment, Virtu* Entertainment.
Cast: Cam Gigandet, Jena Malone, Will Yun Lee, Brooklyn Sudano, Julianna Guill, Chris Johnson, Max Hartman.
Director/screenwriter: Danny Buday.
Producers: Mike Robertson, Danny Buday, Joel Mendoza.
Executive producer: Mike Robertson.
Director of photography: Jason Oldak.
Production designer: Megan Hutchison.
Music: Ryan Beveridge.
Editor: Curtis Pierce.
No rating, 97 minutes.