Good Girl, The  [DVD]
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A black comedy starring Jennifer Aniston. Justine Last's (Aniston) life is going nowhere: her husband (John C. Reilly) spends most of the time getting stoned with his best friend Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson), and she has a dead-end job at the cosmetics desk in a department store. However, all is about to change when fellow worker Tom (Jake Gyllenhaal) - who likes to be called Holden after the main character in 'The Catcher in the Rye' - decides to show Justine just what life can really be like and what she has been missing.
In The Good Girl Jennifer Aniston gets a make-under that would make her Friends character weep, but she finally proves her acting mettle away from the ditzy-but-glamorous Rachel type. A low-key drama from the writer and director duo behind Chuck and Buck, The Good Girl places Aniston's bored shop-girl Justine at the centre of a soul-destroying life in a sleepy Texan town. Like a modern Madame Bovary, Justine's life is stuck in a rut--her marriage is dull and her job at the Retail Rodeo even duller--when a new colleague Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal) offers her an escape. A tortured soul who's obsessed with The Catcher in the Rye and thinks nobody understands him, Holden is a typical, angst-ridden young man. But to Justine he's intriguing and romantic and their shared sense of dejection soon leads to an affair and a short-lived liberation from their daily lives.
Aniston could never pass as dowdy but she does a very convincing turn as the crestfallen Justine, using subtlety and dry humour rather than melodrama to convey her quiet desperation. John C Reilly as her permanently stoned husband and Tim Blake Nelson as his creepy chum are both superb alongside her. Even the smaller roles are furnished with some memorable moments: Justine's colleague makes outrageous tannoy announcements to zombie-like customers at the Retail Rodeo. Funny, strange and touching by turns The Good Girl, has its awkward moments but as a quirky slice of life it gets most things right.
On the DVD: The Good Girl offers a feature-length commentary from director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White that takes a while to get going but does provide some insight and humour. Aniston adds a scene-specific commentary that sadly does little to enhance the viewing of the film; short comments, some with massive pauses, offer little in the way of insight into her breakout performance. Deleted scenes with optional commentary and an alternate ending add a little more bulk where the gag reel (out-takes of the cast laughing) fails. It's not the package the film deserves. --Laura Bushell
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The character of Justine acts in an unforgivable way towards both her husband (John C Reilly) and her lover (Jake Gyllenhaal) yet I found myself rooting for her. This is thanks to Aniston's amazing performance.
The film has a perfect cast both John C Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal are brilliant and should have won awards for their performances. (I also quite fancied Jake Gyllenhaal in this film-if you like him then watch this film!)
It's hard to put this film into a genre as its funny but also tragic so it can't be described as either comedy or drama. I think the only way to describe it is unmissable.
A sad and moving story about how life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. This is a very gritty drama about life's harsh realities.
You really do get attatched to the characters in this one, it is surprisingly good and definately worth a watch.
I love this film and all that it stands for in film-making, and I recommend it unreservedly. More like this, please.
What started off as a no-strings fling for Justine soon escalates into a living nightmare for her when she finds it literally impossible to get rid of Holden which ultimately ends in disaster.
The Good Girl is something different to the run of the mill rom-coms that Jennifer Aniston has made a name for herself in the movie business as playing. She is extremely competent in playing a more serious role and did achieve critical acclaim after this film was released. This has prompted her off late to pursue other serious roles more recently. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the character of Holden extremely well but we have seen him in this sort of role before in Donnie Darko so it's not a complete surprise that he's able to play this sort of character well. There are a few gripes with the film that I'll tell you about. The ending is a real downer so don't watch this if you are in any way expecting a happy ending and even though it's advertised as being funny, it's not. The quote of it being a black comedy I think misrepresents what the film is actually like.
Despite this, The Good Girl is certainly worth a look if only to be pleasantly surprised by Jennifer Aniston's performance alone.
Extras on the DVD include 2 commentaries, an alternate ending (which is near enough the same so the point is of this I don't know), deleted scenes and a gag reel.
look at the dead end reality of small town US life.
There's also something a tiny bit condescending about it. It sometimes
feels distanced from and judgmental of it's own characters and world.
And occasionally it pushed a little hard to be `quirky'.
But it makes up for any flaws it with its good, true
moments, both dramatic and comic.
And it has stayed in my memory in an ever more positive way.
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