View Full Version : Aniston shines in superior but sad story

08-20-2002, 11:02 AM
About five minutes in I thought, thank goodness we've seen all the trailers
already. One of the great crimes of the twenty-first century is the
marketing dolts tendency to tell the entire story of a film in the trailers.
One of the more blatant examples in recent memory is Swimfan. The trailers
tell us of a swimming phenom seduced by the new girl in school who, when
rejected, slips swim phenom steroids in his vitamins. Swim phenom is kicked
off the team and swimfan pursues relentlessly, eventually running his
girlfriend off the road and then dumping her, confined to a wheelchair, into
the pool to be saved by swim phenom. So, if you want to know what happens in
the last ten minutes of Swimfan, buy a ticket and go. My guess is the
girlfriend is saved and swimfan dies some grisly underwater death.

The Good Girl trailers are all consumed in the first five minutes. The
reason for this may not be an awakening on the part of studio salesmen,
though, as the trailers are almost all funny quips and The Good Girl, while
very funny at times, is much more than a comedy. Jennifer Aniston (Justine
Last) demonstrates a depth of talent heretofore unsuspected. Charismatic,
cute, and comedic have all surfaced in Friends, but when we see her walking
across the Retail Rodeo floor as if gravity won't allow her feet to do
anything but shuffle and her shoulders only stoop, we are awakened to a
phenomenal talent. Her portrayal of a plain Texas Jane with dying dreams is
letter perfect. Her husband Phil (John C. Reilly) and his buddy bubba (Tim
Blake Nelson) are housepainters by day and potheads by night. Her days are
spent at the Retail Rodeo, a small town five-and-dime populated by a bizarre
cast of characters. Cheryl (Zooey Deschanel) gets booted from blue-light
special announcer to cosmetics assistant when she gets a little too creative
on the PA. She is delightful as a gothic wannabe.

The new cashier, Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener's love interest
in Lovely & Amazing and the soon to be released Moonlight Mile) catches
Justine's eye and The Good Girl makes a ninety-degree from her miserable
life. This is a small town, though, and their secret won't be long kept.
Aniston's performance compels us to accompany her as The Good Girl turns
dark and dangerous. Director Miguel Arteta controls the descent, though, and
punctuates with humor. This is a powerful story told in profound
performances topped by a surprising Jennifer Aniston.