I love Jennifer Aniston as much as the next person. I loved her as flighty Rachel Green, and I loved her in the ‘Picture Perfect/Object of My Affection/Office Space’ trifecta. I adored ‘The Good Girl’ and even ‘Derailed’. But I did not like ‘Cake.’ In fact, I would go on as far to say that I hated ‘Cake’…and I can personally guarantee you that you will never hear those words leave my mouth again.
Aniston stars as Claire Bennett, a narcotic-addicted angry ball of nerves and contempt who, throughout the entire film, does not show any redeeming qualities. The viewer isn’t given anything to root for. In fact, we aren’t even given any glimpse of Claire’s back story that precipitated her current drug-addled existence.
The supporting characters are one-dimensional and underdeveloped. That’s really a shame considering the wealth of talent in the film. Felicity Huffman and Anna Kendrick are given minimal dialogue and limited scenes, adding to the film’s overall fragmented narrative. Aniston is amazing, however. She inhabits the vitriol that comprises her character and moves from scene to scene with the prowess not unlike that shown by Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. You hate her but you love her – a combination that very, very few actresses can project on screen. It’s just too bad the film is a big old bore. I understand that the film is inserting the viewer into the life of a complicated woman, but the filmmaker is responsible for also giving the viewer a reason to stay and watch.
I wanted to like the movie more than I did, but I just wasn’t engaged enough to be invested. Aniston needs to star in a great legal drama where she plays a hard-assed lawyer who goes after the big man. She needs her Norma Rae or Erin Brockovich, because people really like her. They really, really like her.