The Good Girl
***.1 GM
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zooey Deschanel, John Carroll Lynch, Tim Blake Nelson


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So I'm trying to determine if I officially have some sort of "thing" for Jennifer Aniston. Sure she's purty an' all, but she's also on "Friends," which should make me annoyed with her on principle. And when I watch that show, I generally am annoyed with everyone on it. So I don't watch it often. But there's something that can be appealing about her when she's not playing some ridiculous romantic comedy part, like an advertising executive or whatever. Why do so many movies feature the travails of ad executives? Who wants to see anything about those people? They created "The Noid," for chrissakes, not to mention all those stupid "extreme" commercials for everything from Mountain Dew to Jo-Ann Fabrics to Chia Pets. EXTREME CHIA PETS, DUDE!

But this was a "Sundance movie" so I thought I'd give it a chance, since director Miguel Arteta and Mike White had so much hype about their film "Chuck & Buck," which I have yet to see. I don't like to let hype dictate my choices, but my interest was piqued by this and my aforementioned semi-thing for Aniston.

Turned out to be a darker picture than I expected - Aniston is a cosmetics clerk at the Retail Rodeo in a deep funk about how shitty her life is with her pothead husband John C. Reilly and his pal Tim Blake Nelson, so she allows herself to get drawn into an affair with Jake Gyllenhaal, the young new grocery bagger who feels like she is the first person to ever understand him. Of course, like most deceptions, it spirals not quite into a deadly web of intrigue and betrayal, but rather into a desperate and ill-advised batch of choices she makes to try and keep her life from disintegrating, despite how unhappy she is with it.

It was definitely more than I expected from an Aniston film, which is a good thing - shows some promise. I'm sure it won't stop her from making "Picture Perfect II: Picture Perfecter," but maybe she'll take a cue or two from her ol' hubby and at least try to alternate good movies with lame ones. The things her character does and the lengths she goes to in order to protect a life she doesn't want are genuinely surprising at times, although it may only be because of who's playing the role.

It's generally a dark comedy that flirts with heavy drama from time to time, and the result is an interesting film with an aura of depression surrounding it, which automatically makes it more worthwhile than "Picture Perfect With A Vengeance."

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