Take a Drink: whenever Claire starts mixing pills and alcohol.
Take a Drink: every time Silvana starts speaking in very loud Spanish.
Do a Shot: when Nina and Claire are together on screen for more than 2 minutes.
Have a Shot and a Beer: when you see Claire as the only white woman walking around Tijuana.
By: Rob Perez (Two Beers) –
You gotta love it when an actress known for her looks and comedic abilities can actually show some really great dramatic acting chops. Jennifer Aniston portrays Claire, who after a life altering accident that leaves her scarred, in constant pain, and left without friends (we just had to make that one and only reference), comes away discovering that it’s not about overcoming her disability but learning to deal with it. It’s just that her way of dealing with it is to be one total bitch to everybody. Hey, the name of the film might refer to a sweet treat but there’s nothing sweet about her character.
Aniston serves up a terrific performance as Claire, who we meet many months after a terrible car accident has left her physically and mentally scarred. It also appears to have made her a permanent and bitter pain in the ass to everyone. In the very first scene we see the extent of her prissiness when she congratulates the suicide of Nina (Anna Kendrick) and is asked to leave the support group she is part of. Her one friend is her housekeeper Silvana (Adriana Barraza) who even helps supply Claire with pain pills, the only other constant thing in her life, which the two go off on a road trip to Tijuana to grab an ample supply of.
Visions of Nina suddenly become a semi regular event, who keeps suggesting to Claire to quit wasting time and just end it, making it sound like suicide is a beautiful solution to all her problems. So Claire does what any sane person does and visits Nina’s husband (Sam Worthington) and the two develop some quasi attraction that never leads to anything physical but you get the feeling they somehow do feel connected. Cake is billed as a comedy/drama, more drama than comedy, but the funny parts are hidden though it never makes you feel you have to be on the inside of any sort of special club or a movie snob to get the jokes. It’s a serious film but definitely made for everyone who can either relate or not relate to the topics of depression, suicide, adversity, and second chances all rolled up together, but doesn’t do it in a pretentious manner whatsoever.
As fine an actress as Anna Kendrick is, to see the star of Pitch Perfect playing opposite Aniston in this serious role and supposedly being an anti-inner conscious (never mind the fact the very young looking Kendrick is supposed to be playing a married woman in her thirties before she jumped off a bridge)… she just isn’t right for the role. Virtually everyone else in the film plays their roles nicely to a tee but when Kendrick shows up, it’s really the only time you’re not sure if she’s telling the jokes or if she’s the joke. An actress a bit older with bigger acting chops would’ve filled this role much better.
Cake is an amazingly well-written, well constructed film with Aniston giving her absolute best performance. Aniston totally owns her character, who after several horrible incidents that will forever haunt her doesn’t come away stronger in the end, but learns to deal with and accept these life changing events. This is a perfect example of a film one becomes a film critic for. I can’t imagine anyone giving a better dramatic performance than Aniston this awards season!