For Jennifer Aniston, The Good Girl marks a departure from the trendy lofts of New York City and an arrival in the tumbleweeds of Texas. It’s a bit of a stretch from the sometimes sugary-sweet roles Aniston has played in the past. But her risk pays off.
Aniston takes a leap in portraying Justine Last, the polar opposite of her usual stint as Rachel Green on NBC’s Friends. Although Aniston has appeared in other movies, such as Picture Perfect and The Object of My Affection, she always seems to play an upper-middle-class woman who is well dressed but slightly quirky.
In The Good Girl, Aniston proves that she can escape this typecasting and honestly portray a lower-class woman who earns her living at the Retail Rodeo, and comes home every night to a small, but well-kept, house and a pothead husband.
Jake Gyllenhaal (October Sky, Bubble Boy) plays Tom “Holden” Worther, a dark, troubled writer whose father got him a job at the Retail Rodeo after Holden got kicked out of college for drinking.
Although the role is similar to roles the young actor has taken in the past, the performance is still gripping and utterly honest.
Holden and Justine find each other at the Retail Rodeo, and they slowly come to realize that they are in similar ruts in life.
All of the supporting cast members turn in strong performances, as well. With standouts being John C. Reilly as Phil, Justine’s sweet but clueless husband, and writer Mike White, as Corny, a religious wacko, who also just happens to be spying on Justine and Holden when they take “breaks” in the storeroom.
The real appeal of this movie lies in its ability to make the audience sympathize with almost every character.
White allows you to have insights into each and every character, and just as they become unlikeable, or ignorable, they have an onscreen moment that redeems them, at least somewhat.
And that lets their humanity show through.
Contact Metta Smeed at firstname.lastname@example.org