Movie Review: Cake (2014)

Posted: July 11, 2015 in Drama
Tags: ,

cake

Claire Bennett (Jennifer Aniston) becomes obsessed with the suicide of Nina Collins, (Anna Kendrick) a member of her pain management group.  To cope with her own pain, Claire gets hooked on Percocet, drinks, sleeps with strangers, and is abusive to the only woman who can tolerate her cries for attention, her maid, Silvana. (Adrianna Barraza) Claire tries to strike up a friendship with Nina’s husband, Roy, (Sam Worthington) and his son, Casey. (Evan O’Toole)  Roy is also grieving the loss of Nina.  Do the two, who share a common sense of grief, find a way to ease each other’s pain?

Cake is about a woman who suffers from tremendous physical and emotional pain, after some unspecified physical  and emotional pain, and because it has nowhere to go, it becomes a meandering, redundant non sequitur. She masks her pain with drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex.  I get it, but the script goes nowhere, there is no comedy to break up the sorrow, just more and more scenes of pain and degradation, no character development, characters appear and disappear, all in the gauzy haze of Claire’s drug-addled mind..  There seems to be a lot of vomiting in movies these days, Aniston hurls chunks in this movie. Robert Duvall does the same in The Judge, I guess projectile vomiting is a sign that the character has hit bottom.  After 1 ¾ hours of morose dialogue, the movie just ends.

The acting by the leads is horrendous. Aniston plays an insufferable, self-absorbed, self-medicating harpy, and because she can’t or won’t modulate her voice to convey emotion, all her lines come out sounding flat and monotone. Aniston signals that this is a serious performance by deglamorizing her looks, wearing mousy hair, and a scarred face. Sam Worthington doesn’t even try  to cover his Australian accent, he doesn’t have much to do, he’s not quite a love interest, and all he can do is play the distant, mourning, husband, and he’s not very convincing at that. Anna Kendrick shows up briefly, and tries to liven up the proceedings, but isn’t in the movie for long enough to change the general malaise.  Adriana Barrera is also very good, but in typical Hollywood fashion, Barrera is reduced to playing a maid.  Hollywood stereotypes strike again.

The pacing is slow ,director Daniel Barnz shows no initiative, the movie just drags along, he gets awful performances from his two leads, and his prior movies include the young adult sci fi flick Beastly.  I heard Oscar buzz about this, but after seeing Cake, I have to ask, why?

Cake:  A bitter slice of life.

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