It’s a drag to see Jennifer Aniston in the sort of sour role that US drama ‘Cake’ offers her – and one that gives her very little leeway to flex her comic chops or her natural way with a seen-it-all sigh. She plays Claire, a brittle LA ex-lawyer suffering chronic muscle pain due to some horrible, unspecified accident that’s left scars on her face and limbs; the film’s infuriatingly coy script also tells us that her young son has died, turning the film into a morbid guessing game.
‘Cake’ chokes you on its self-seriousness, even as it trots out potentially interesting supporting players. There’s a hunky widower (Sam Worthington) who needs cheering up and a long-suffering Mexican maid (Adriana Barraza). Aniston might have saved the show if uninspiring director Daniel Barnz had allowed her to cut against the bleakness and turn Claire’s pill-popping haze into something darkly comic, but that never comes.