out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
The Good Girl
Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4
Jennifer Aniston transforms herself from "Friends" Rachel Green into an
unhappy adulteress in this working-class drama. She's 30 year-old Justine, a
frustrated, small-town Texas woman who longs to have a child with her
house-painter husband (John C. Reilly) who spends his evenings, stoned, in front
of TV with his buddy Bubba (Tim Buddy Nelson). "I used to lie in bed and imagine
other lives," she muses. "Now I don't even know what to imagine anymore."
Justine finds a soul-mate in 22 year-old "Holden" (Jake Gyllenhaal), a co-worker
at the Retail Rodeo - even though she totally misses the point when he tells her
he was named after the protagonist in J. D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye."
But when their storage room/motel dalliance moves from liberation to obsession,
she finds herself ensnared in a chaotic web of blackmail and larceny. As Justine
observes, "Sometimes you have to make a few pit-stops on the road to
Screenwriter Mike White and director Miguel Arleta, who did "Chuck and
Buck," overcome the complete predictability of the plot with their sardonic
insight and compassion for the multi-dimensional characters, along with the
ensemble strong performances. Successfully making the stretch from her hip, glam
TV image, Ms. Aniston embodies the emotionally exhausted cosmetics clerk who is
weighted down by dullness, drudgery and desperation, while Jake Gyllenhaal is
convincing as the sensitive but seriously disturbed wannabe writer. Zooey
Deschanel scores as the store's bad-girl with John Carroll Lynch as the
officious discount-mart manager. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The
Good Girl" is a darkly comic, down-to-earth 7, proving that sometimes people
just feel the need to escape.
Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger
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