From the outside, Cookies & Cream may seem similar to another film we've covered, named "One Hour Fantasy Girl". One Hour Fantasy Girl even follows a similar path - that of a girl on a struggle to find herself, while working an odd-job to pay the rent.
However, now I have a better frame of reference, having watched Cookies & Cream; and I can clearly see what is lacking in 1HFG that C&C has in abundance... heart.
Carmen (Jace Nicole) has an 8 year old daughter that she gets to see only three days a week. She has a high-rise apartment, but a lack of a substantial and steady relationship. The only men she sees are those she meets through work on her website. A decidedly adult web page featuring only herself, called Cookiesandcream.com. Every man she works with tries to take it further, but she won't allow it. They often spew pick-up lines out of a book, and Carmen wants a truthful person who will just be himself.
By chance, not too long into her story, Carmen meets a man who seems to fit all of her criteria... and she starts to fall for him. But the guilt hangs over her, as she tries to figure out how to tell her new boyfriend about how she makes a living (only going so far as to say she works with computers).
Jace Nicole is the biggest revelation amongst this cast. She shines in every scene, and just when you expect her to crack under the pressure of an emotional moment, she somehow keeps the conversation real - and believable. The director does a good job of getting into the head of most of the characters in the short span of the movie - rather than glossing over half of them in favor of quickly telling a story.
Perhaps my only real complaints are debatably minor, but I couldn't shake the thoughts of them even after the film ended. Several of the characters smoke cigarettes in plain view, without hesitation - something I thought we were getting away from in films. It really sullies the reputation of the actors to see them take something that's so important (their lives) so lightly.
And one other bother is the way some of the earlier conversations in the film are presented. Characters are filmed in the city streets of New York, and surrounding areas - but the problem is how they are recorded. They are shown from 100 feet away or more - with their voices sounding dubbed in, whether they are or not. When you're watching conversations in a film, you want to pay attention to the faces, the gestures - all things that need to be experienced up close and personal (not from the bushes across the way). When these cannot be seen, ranging from 30 seconds to a minutes worth of staring at their backs, the viewer becomes frustrated.
These moments do make you appreciate how important it is to see your actors when they deliver their lines. If there were many more moments that could not be seen, it could've ruined the film.
However, as it stands, I can easily say that this film presents a modern drama in a new way. If this had turned out to follow the methods of every romantic "comedy", while trying to pass as a drama, I certainly would've considered it horrible. But with the mantra of our main character Carmen being "The show must go on", It definitely does, and without the flaws of a big-budget production. This is the kind of film that can only ever exist in the independent realm, because no major studio would have enough guts to film the story of an adult film star in any way but a comedy.