Cupcakes—a campy, comic confection from Israel’s gleeful gay fantasist Eytan Fox (The Bubble, Yossi & Jagger)—is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth! In suburban Tel Aviv, six neighbors gather to watch the televised finals of “Universong,” a Eurovision-style international song contest. There’s Yael, a former beauty queen who’s unhappy with her corporate job (and her secret affair with her boss); Dana, a stressed-out political aide struggling to please her very traditional father; Anat, a successful bakery owner; Keren, a shy blogger; Efrat, a sultry singer-songwriter with a gorgeous girlfriend but a stalled career; and Ofer—the only guy in the group—a nursery-school teacher who’s frustrated that his boyfriend, the scion of a powerful hummus dynasty, won’t come out of the closet.
The friends are ready for a night of kitschy entertainment, but Israel’s lackluster contest entry puts everyone in a bit of a funk. When Anat reveals her marital troubles, Efrat improvises a little song to cheer her up, and the other friends join in the good-natured musical effort. Then, against all odds, Ofer’s smartphone video of the song earns the group the chance to represent Israel in next year’s Universong contest. Cupcakes is a fun musical frolic, with delightful production design, imaginative costumes, and catchy tunes, but it’s got heart, too—it’s the film equivalent of a great pop song. The friends will have to do a lot of soul-searching on their way to the Universong finals in Paris. Will they take home the prize?
— Charles Purdy
In Hebrew with English subtitles.
AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F112
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival