The Good Girl

Synopsis: “A Comedy of Winning Delicacy and Heart.” – Entertainment Weekly

Jennifer Aniston turns in “a fantastic performance” (US Weekly) in this quirky comedy about first encounters and second chances. Thirty-year old Justine Last (Aniston) longs for a life more fulfilling than the one she leads with her boring husband (John C. Reilly) and dead-end job at the Retail Rodeo. But when a passionate young co-worker (Jake Gyllenhaal) catches her eye and steals her heart, Justine’s good-girl existence takes a turn for the worse- with unexpected and comical results.

The Good Girl 7.0

I’d long heard about this film, and it’s been on my radar for a few years now. In light of my recent movie choices, I thought that it was time to dig this one up; along with ‘Broken Flowers’, it makes for a nice bridge between the Altman and Coen Bros.

The one thing that is true about critics’ claims is Aniston’s performance. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

It may not be awe-inspiring, but anyone who dismisses her as talentless tabloid fodder would be surprised by her acting chops here. It’s all about the small details, the nuances in her face, tone of voice, …etc. She makes the character three-dimensional, even if you still get this sense that you’re watching Jennifer Aniston (in all fairness, perhaps, at this juncture in her career, it might be hard to detach one’s self from her public persona indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent).

However, the rest of the film was good, but not great. I’m not sure if it would have been weakened with another actress in the lead, per se (i.e. I don’t know that Aniston elevated the material with her performance), but I doubt that it could have been improved with -let’s say- a Kate Winslet or Cate Blanchett. It is what it is: a good indie film. No more, no less.

I guess my main issue is that the film started out funny -in an offbeat way- and then it turned into a drama about the consequences of Aniston’s actions. Personally, I didn’t find every new twist funny at all, and I suspect the only way to find it funny would be to have a real mean streak and laugh at her character’s misfortune.

I also felt that everything that happened to her was a simple extension of making the wrong choices. And whereas ‘A Simple Plan’ manages to put such pressures on the lead character that make it virtually impossible for him to do otherwise, I found that Aniston’s character could easily have put a halt to things countless times.

…but didn’t. mad0137 Free Emoticons   Anger

Thus, she goes from a hopeless existence filled with tedium to a pretty similar one – except that it has since been broken and glued together again. Eek. scared0014 Free Scared Emoticons

In the end, I’d say it’s a pretty grim film. I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone looking for a way out of their current challenges; it offers no light at the end of the tunnel, and even suggests that the tunnel has no end. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

This ‘Girl’ is indeed good. But it’s not great. If anything, it’s an example of why some TV stars make it out of the box and others don’t. Along with ‘Office Space’, it was a very good career move for Aniston. winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking

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