After having a wretched birthday in spite of a stellar horoscope prediction, Cam Gigandet sets out to prove that astrology is “a propaganda campaign of bullshit,” in part because the girl he was seeing is a true believer. (“I am going to make her stupid for believing in it,” he drunkenly explains.) He does this by looking up three other people who share the hospital and approximate time of his birth to see if any of them experienced the banner Friday they were promised. In spite of this calamitously quirky premise and an over-reliance on a moody indie-rock soundtrack to carry the action along, 5 Star Day has a low-key air that often works, allowing its characters to behave like people instead of twee constructions.
Danny Buday’s feature debut finds its other motivating factor in night school, as Gigandet’s journey is research for an ethics-class presentation. The film never really figures out how astrology connects with ethics—its questions are more about determinism, and whether what happens to us is due to chance or a cosmic plan. Gigandet loses his job, walks in on his girlfriend cheating on him, and accidentally floods his apartment in a few short hours, but it turns out the three people with whom he shares an astrological destiny have had even worse experiences. Single mom Jena Malone had a disastrous visit from her junkie ex-boyfriend, social worker Brooklyn Sudano had a car accident which is still causing guilt, and lounge singer Max Hartman, though he initially pretends otherwise, got the worst news of them all that day.
Gigandet’s snaky good looks tend to land him in hunky-villain roles, but in 5 Star Day, he proves himself a tolerable lead with believable chemistry in the scenes with his best friend (Will Yun Lee) and via his romantic connection with Malone. Most of the people he’s visiting aren’t thrilled when a total stranger who knows where and when they were born turns up at their doorstep (Twilight alum or no), and the film acknowledges that its hero comes across as a winsome stalker without making too much of the misunderstandings that arise from his approach. 5 Star Day is a middling indie, but it offers evidence of how far a synthetic setup can get just by allowing characters to react and reflect.