Susan Granger’s review of “5 Star Day” (Breaking Glass Pictures)
When the horoscope for Berkeley, California, part-time college student Jake Gibson (Cam Gigandet) predicts a spectacular five-star day on his birthday, little does he realize that everything that could go wrong – does. He loses his job, his car is stolen, his apartment floods and he discovers that his girlfriend is cheating on him.
Jake notes that 75% of newspapers have a horoscope column and, according to Fox News, 29% of Americans claim to believe in astrology, despite scientists classifying it as a superstition. That propels him to base his final college dissertation in Ethics on debunking the value of astrology by tracking down three people who share his February 6, 1982, birthday and were born, as he was, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago. He wants to discover whether they, too, had dreadful birthdays.
Although he finds these three individuals on the Internet, it never occurs to him to either e-mail or phone them in advance to inquire whether they’d be willing to participate in his investigation. Instead, he simply appears, unannounced and uninvited, in their lives.
That terrifies Sarah Reynolds (Jena Malone), a single Chicago mom who is trying to retain custody of her three year-old daughter despite the reappearance of the child’s drug-addicted father. Jake’s visit also unsettles Chicago social worker Yvette Montgomery (Brooklyn Sudano) who, as it turns out, was just involved in an unfortunate traffic accident. Finally, Jake connects with Wesley Henderson (Max Hartman), a Sinatra-cloned jazz singer who aimed for Broadway but wound up performing in a lounge on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
While first-time writer/director Danny Buday opens the high-concept film with scenes of stars whirling in the cosmos, he comes down-to-earth quickly as the 12 signs of the zodiac dissolve into the circle of a washing-machine window with Jake looking into it. And, unfortunately, bland, blond Cam Gigandet is too insipid to inspire much interest as the quirky, jumbled plot plods along.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “5-Star Day” is an implausible 4. Maybe that’s a bad sign.