Kimberly Elise delivers again in 'Apple Mortgage Cake'

Angela’s “bake sale” begins humbly, but eventually reaches international fame.--PHOTO/UPTV

Whether she’s racing through an urban metropolis waving a gun (“Set It Off”), training rigorously for a marathon (“The Loretta Claiborne Story”), or silently enduring some unspeakable horror (“Beloved”), Kimberly Elise always delivers a powerful performance.

She gives a heartfelt portrayal of Angela Logan in “Apple Mortgage Cake,” the true-life story of a mother who must raise $4,000 or lose the home that has been in her family for three generations. The first original movie for the new UP network, “Apple Mortgage Cake” makes its world television premiere at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

It’s 2009, and after the dramatic economic downturn, millions of people are faced with foreclosure. In Teaneck, N.J., Angela Logan is a single, working mom with three teenage boys — 19 year-old Marcus, (A.J. Saudin), 17-year-old William (Stephan James) and Nicholas (Lamar Johnson), a sullen, combative 15-year-old. She juggles various job and helps with employment counseling at the local Mission.

While she’s happy to be in the family home where her beloved grandmother taught her to bake (“Cake makes people happy!”), the house is falling apart, with sections deemed uninhabitable by inspectors after storm and flood damage. Angela always made do until now — when her lender calls in the mortgage loan and puts her into foreclosure. Angela has 10 days to come up with $4,000 or lose her home.

Much like the house, Angela’s life is falling apart. The mortgage is overdue, her car is dead, she had to give up her cell phone, her three sons are making constant demands, and Nicholas has been suspended for bringing a knife, supplied by his ne’r-do-well faher, to school. In fact, Nick’s attitude, in general, stinks.

Providing moral support, as well as some much-needed comic relief, is Angela’s best friend Gloria (Gabrielle Miller), who says in no uncertain terms that Angela’s life would be a lot easier if she met the right man.

“You need a man who gives you stuff instead of taking stuff!” she advises. By chance, Angela runs into Melvin George (Kevin Hanchard), a professional comic she dated 10 years prior. And while the spark between them clearly still exists, the fiercely independent Angela refuses to accept his advances or his help.

Through it all, she remembers the words of the beloved grandmother who taught Angela how to make her heavenly apple cake with buttercream icing when she was just a little girl. “You gotta put the work in before you get the reward,” she’d say. “You get out what you put in. Now that’s a life rule!”

One day, during the darkest hour, Marcus comes up with the idea of his mother baking her way out of debt, realizing that selling 100 cakes at $40 apiece would be enough to save their home — as long as they can do it in 10 days.

Written by Jamie Pachino and directed by Michael Scott, “Apple Mortgage Cake” is a heart-warming story featuring a likable and engaging cast. Elise’s expressive features and genuine emotion often make words unnecessary, and the easygoing Melvin, who is equally capable of taking charge, has a positive effect not only on Angela, but her boys — even the sullen Nick. In the end, Angela finally allows herself to lean on someone.

“Apple Mortgage Cake” is the “inspirational, real-life story about how one good idea — plus several bushels of apples, sugar, flour and butter — helps a family rise from financial disaster in the worst of the recent recession,” said Leslie Glenn Chesloff, executive vice president of programming, UP. “Angela Logan went from home foreclosure to ‘overnight’ national success as her homemade apple cakes helped her build a prosperous apple cake business. We think this is a perfect movie for our viewers in April, especially on Easter Sunday.”

Contact Tribune Staff Writer Kimberly C. Roberts at (215) 893-5753 or kroberts@phillytrib.com.

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