Friends star Aniston is The Good Girl

Preview by Jack Foley

 

 

FRIENDS star Jennifer Aniston appears to be on a role at the moment. Having just secured an Emmy award for her performance as Rachel in the ninth series of the popular TV show (the first cast member to do so), the jovial Mrs Brad Pitt has also been earning rave reviews for her performance in indie movie favourite, The Good Girl.

Directed by Miguel Arteta and co-starring Donnie Darko's Jake Gyllenhaal, the movie finds Aniston as a small-town Texas store clerk, trapped in a stale marriage, who embarks on an affair with Gyllenhaal's disturbed younger clerk, who claims to be named after the famous JD Salinger character.

Things become more complicated, however, when Aniston becomes pregnant and her husband's best friend threatens to reveal her secret.

An audience and critics' favourite at this year's Sundance Film Festival (where it played alongside the likes of One Hour Photo), The Good Girl marks something of a second coming for Aniston on the Big Screen, as previous attempts to break away from her Friends persona have so far proved less than successful.

For starters, Aniston appears dowdy and unpolished, while her performance forced many critics in America to sit up and take notice, which isn't bad for someone who confesses to enduring many 'cry-fests' on set, during filming.

So keen was the actress to get involved with the project, that she worked on the film during weekends, away from the Friends set. Yet it was a move which frequently reduced her to tears.

Asked whether she would do it again, Aniston says 'never', stating that she values her sanity and her private life too much to go through such an exhausting schedule any more.

But the effort sounds worth it, as the views from America (below) would indicate...

The movie opens in the UK on January 10, 2003.

What the US critics said...

Praise for the movie was virtually unanimous, with even those who found something to complain about erring on the side of caution.

Leading the way, however, is Film Journal International, which stated that The Good Girl is 'a heartfelt look, both funny and sad, at what can happen when dull little people get big romantic ideas'.

Hollywood.com announced that it was 'quite possibly the best-written, best-acted film of the summer', while the Los Angeles Times wrote that it is 'one of the year's best films'.

Film Threat felt that 'overall, the film wins out with its stark truths and slightly twisted pay off's along the way', while the New York Post referred to it as 'a comedy as black as the asphalt desert of a mall parking lot' and awarded it three and a half out of four stars.

The New York Times, meanwhile, declared it 'a winner, helped along by a no-frills performance by Jennifer Aniston', while Salon's critic wrote: "I almost feel like I'm being pissy for not liking it more than I do."

The praise was continued by USA Today, which wrote that 'the characters may be lost, but viewers will be grateful to have stumbled on this darkly comic and well-told story', while Village Voice opined that it is 'a droll, well-acted, character-driven comedy with unexpected deposits of feeling'.

Of a more mixed nature were the likes of Entertainment Weekly, which awarded it a C, and said that it 'only pretends to care about good people who sometimes do bad things', while TV Guide felt that 'the casting of Aniston is a coup that may draw audiences to this admirably risky, heartfelt film, but her presence can't help but diminish its seriousness'.

The final word, however, is a good one and delivered by Variety, which wrote that the film 'delivers amusingly observed characters, consistent laughs … and winning performances from a terrific cast captained by Jennifer Aniston'.

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