Cake

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(2014) ★★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 4 December, 1.45pm and 10pm

Cake comes decorated with its best gag up front. At a Los Angeles support group, Felicity Huffman talks soothingly in solicitous jargonese. Behind her, a big smiley photo of Anna Kendrick. That’s Nina. Huffman is talking about the need for the group to ‘verbalize’ how Nina’s suicide has affected all of them. For the sake of closure.

Asked to contribute, Jennifer Aniston is withering: “Personally, I hate it when suicides make it easy on the survivors but, please, continue.” Pain and loss have made her cranky and sarcastic, and the group would prefer if she sought help elsewhere. That’s as funny as Daniel Barnz’s precisely calibrated drama gets but, however pat and precious it threatens to become, it’s a big step up from his first three features: Phoebe in Wonderland, Beastly and Won’t Back Down are all seriously flawed, Beastly most of all.

Against the odds, Cake isn’t that stodgy. Wracked with chronic pain since an unexplained accident, Aniston’s scarred face is a sullen mask of anger, her anguish barely diluted by (never enough) prescription pills. Aniston’s frankness sets the tone and she’s even able to make credible a contrived attraction to Nina’s grieving husband, Sam Worthington.

Thanks to underplaying, their tentative relationship is odd and poignant. It isn’t sexual; they simply don’t want to sleep alone. There’s also strong support (no pun intended) from Adriana Barraza as Aniston’s middleaged Latino housemaid and general helper. But this is Aniston’s show and she nails it.

Amping up the sweetness-and-light to get pill refills from ditzy doctor Lucy Punch. Holding conversations with an imaginary Nina after the percocets kick in (“You know, your language has really degraded since group…”). Looking longingly at LA’s freeway overpasses, wondering what it would take to make that leap. It’s not the cake she needs. It’s the candles.

Certificate: 15

Duration: 102min

IMDB – Cake

TMDB – Cake

Rotten Tomatoes – Cake

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 5 December at 2:15PM
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 5 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 6 December at 12:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 6 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 7 December at 1:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 7 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 8 December at 10:00AM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 8 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 9 December at 12:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 9 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 10 December at 1:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 10 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Select Wednesday, 16 December at 8:00PM
Sky Movies Select Monday, 21 December at 12:00PM
Sky Movies Select Thursday, 31 December at 2:45AM