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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Movie Review - Cake

Cake (2014)
Starring Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Mamie Gummer, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, and Chris Messina
Directed by Daniel Barnz
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

A little more darkly comic than I was expecting, Cake gives Jennifer Aniston a nice vehicle to showcase her dramatic chops (with tinges of humor), but surprisingly doesn't give her that "Oscar" moment for her to really make a huge impact.  Granted, that's not necessarily a bad thing -- the simplicity of the movie doesn't really call for that "Oscar Scene" to happen.  Still, the flick really fails on creating an emotional arc, with things feeling decidedly and disappointingly one-note.

Aniston is Claire Bennett, a woman in chronic pain struggling to cope with an horrific event from her past that fails to let her create a livable present.  With her life in shambles -- her husband (Chris Messina) has left her, a friend (Anna Kendrick) from her chronic pain support group has committed suicide, her anger causing issues with her group's leader (Felicity Huffman) and physical therapist (Mamie Gummer) -- the only person giving Claire any modicum of support is her housemaid Silvana (Adriana Barraza) who wishes nothing but the best for her employer, but is increasingly frustrated by Claire's reliance on pain medication to make it through day-to-day routines.

The best part of Cake is this relationship between Claire and Silvana, with both Aniston and Barraza playing off each other quite well creating moments of both humor and heartache.  The film falters when it branches out to some of the other aforementioned characters mainly because none of them are really given adequate time to create an emotional impact.  Ultimately, that's the underlying problem with Cake -- too many superfluous side stories when the best part of the screenplay focuses Claire's grief and how she and her only friend -- her maid -- deal with her issues.

You could certainly do worse than watch Cake and Aniston and Barraza are absolutely the reasons to give it a go.  Unfortunately, the screenplay doesn't quite give these two characters the adequate justice they deserve.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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