It won’t be a stretch to say Jennifer Aniston was the focus of Cake, so I’ll cut to the chase – She did what she could with a weak script. As Claire, an ex-lawyer suffering from severe chronic pain after an accident, Aniston de-glammed herself (complete with facial scars) and tried to evoke the desperation of an painkiller addict and the bitterness of someone who had pretty much given up on life.
I said tried, because other than the opening scene, where Claire’s acerbic tongue stunned her touchy-feely support group, she was left to say variations of “get out of here”, “leave me alone”, “just do as I say”, etc. The supporting cast included Anna Kendrick (Nina from the support group who killed herself, and appeared as Claire’s hallucination taunting her to do the same), Sam Worthington (Nina’s hot husband), Felicity Huffman (leader of support group) and Chris Messina (Claire’s ex-husband).
But the shining light was Adriana Barraza, who played Claire’s long-suffering housekeeper Silvana. She genuinely cares for Claire, going as far as to bring Claire on a Mexican pharmaceutical procurement trip. The interaction between these two actresses resulted in some of the best scenes.
Overall, it felt like the film had greater aspirations to explore the subject of addiction, but director Daniel Barnz and screenwriter Patrick Tobin stepped on the brakes halfway (to make Claire more likeable?), and the result was a muted film with an ending you could see from a mile away.
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