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film review

Jennifer Aniston plays accident survivor Claire Bennett, a woman with rigid posture, visible-but-not-disfiguring scars on her face and body and a snide attitude.

Jennifer Aniston scowls and lets her famous hair get lanky in Cake, a misguided therapy dramedy that attempts to portray pain and grief with strained whimsy.

Aniston plays accident survivor, Claire Bennett, a woman with rigid posture, visible-but-not-disfiguring scars on her face and body and a snide attitude. At least money's not a problem: An unemployed lawyer, Claire maintains a suburban L.A. home and pool, and an exasperated, compassionate Hispanic housekeeper, Silvana (Mexican actress, Adriana Barraza, the stealth star here). Silvana serves as Claire's caregiver, driver and accomplice when Claire goes to Tijuana to illegally buy Percocet.

Everyone else has given up on her: Claire's husband (Chris Messina), her physiotherapist (Mamie Gummer) and the head of her support group (Felicity Huffman) who asks Claire to leave after she makes cruel comments about a group member's suicide.

Things get both cutesy and mawkish when Claire starts having hallucinations and dreams in which she talks with the dead woman's ghost (an improbably perky Anna Kendrick).

Between a string of post-Friends dismal rom-coms, Aniston has succeeded in these kinds of grownup roles every few years. Here, she negotiates the character's quirks and contradictions competently, but nothing short of a rewrite from scratch could make Cake palatable.