Sep 042002
Authors: Eric Patton

Although I am a writer, even I would find it difficult to take the mundane lives of Retail Rodeo workers and make it into an interesting script.

But Mike White, who also appears in the film, has accomplished this. Then again, where is a good script with out a good cast? Jennifer Aniston, whom everyone should know as Rachel from TV’s “Friends” got her start in film back with a very hokey horror movie, “The Leprechaun.”

Since then she has tried to just make a living, and she did, when she found her role of a lifetime on “Friends.” But being as she wants to be remember as more than a bombshell from a television comedy, she has been branching out and proving herself one of the most talented from the television cast, let alone in Hollywood.

“The Good Girl” is drab, dark, disturbing and yet completely irresistible. It’s moments of comedy and drama make a perfect mixture for an Oscar nomination, if not for Aniston, for White’s flawless script. In this film we follow Justine (Aniston) through her ‘tragic’ existence and draining job at the fantastically diverse Retail Rodeo.

Very rarely is an audience treated to such a colorful cast of characters as the ones that White has written for us. From the Gwen, the overly cheerful cosmetics clerk to Cheryl, the bitter and passive-aggressive peon of the store and the Bible-thumping security guard, you are never left without someone to be watching or listening to. Justine transcends this crowd, almost cruelly, and lets fact that her husband (John C. Reilly) has killed off his sperm by smoking excessive amounts of pot with his painting partner (Tim Blake Nelson), execute her lively spirit.

But suddenly, although just a faint glimmer, she finds hope with the new clerk at the Retail Rodeo, Holden, played by Jake Gyllenhaal who got his first lead in the flop, “The Bubble Boy.” This beautifully tragic character starts to give her life, but quickly that faint glimmer of hope expands into a blinding light of life stirred with tragedy.

The cast couldn’t be better. Down to Mike White being the Bible-thumping security guard, with was perfectly cast. Everyone in this picture not only delivers unforgettable performances in ‘The Good Girl,’ but they have a ‘filmography’ that should not be missed. Tim Blake Nelson made a name for himself in the Coen Brother’s “O Brother! Where Art Thou?” He has since appeared in “Minority Report” and will be seen later in a film “Cherish.”

Zooey Deschanel plays the passive-aggressive and darkly comic peon of the store. Her film debut came with the over-looked comedy, “Mumford,’ and then received a break-through role in Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous.” She has since lent her talents to the film “Big Trouble.”

The performance that deserves a special note, as his performance should receive in everything he has been in, is the horribly under-rated John C. Reilly, playing the pothead husband as I mentioned above. Reilly made his debut with “Casualties of War,” which lead to a small role in Tom Cruise’s “Days of Thunder.” And ever since he has been cast in pictures he has been a scene-stealer.

He has impressed me with his roles in numerous films including “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “The Anniversary Party,” and “The Perfect Storm.” He is starring along side Daniel Day-Louis and Leonardo DiCaprio in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film, “Gangs of New York.”

If you haven’t been able to tell, I thought every element of this picture was fabulous. I love the cast, I love the writing, I love the directing. Jake Gyllenhaal takes the depressed demeanor that was a Tobey Maguire trademark and embellishes that to an oddly loveable character. Aniston proves to us all that she is a credible and versatile actress. Rush out to see this one. A – .

Suggestions with Jennifer Aniston: “She’s the One,” “Office Space,” “Object of My Affection,” “Rock Star,” “Picture Perfect.”

With Jake Gyllenhaal: “City Slickers,” “October Sky,” “Donnie Darko,” “Lovely and Amazing” and be looking for him in the anticipated “Moonlight Mile.”

More written by Mike White; “Dead Man on Campus,” “Orange County,” “Chuck and Buck.”

Other suggestions are listed in the review itself…. And always, feel free to respond at

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.