The Good Girl is as close as you can get to nothing and still have something to project on screen. So greatly lacking in life, interest, and imagination, it's amazing the film was ever made. The characters almost sleepwalk from scene to scene, deficient of spirit, energy, humor, and any will to live. Nobody in this movie has a decent future. Most of the characters look as if they'd happily dive head first from the nearest bridge.
Jennifer Aniston plays Justine, a convenient store clerk who spends her days hating her job and nights hating her loser, pot-smoking husband, Phil (John C. Reilly). His friend, Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson), often visits and gets high with him. Perhaps the drugs are the reason why Phil can't get Justine pregnant? But Justine has more important things on her mind than getting pregnant... like getting the television fixed.
Justine notices a new young man working at the convenience store. Calling himself Holden Worther (Jake Gyllenhaal), he starts a friendship with Justine and realizes they both hate the world for the same reasons. The two very quickly becomes lovers and begin an obsessive affair. It's only a matter of time, however, before someone discovers Justine's infidelity.
Every scene in The Good Girl has the same dreary, frustrating melodramatic tone of a soap opera, but without even passionate tension. The usually charming Aniston can't generate a single flicker of heat during her countless love scenes with Gyllenhaal. It's not really their fault; the talented faces collected here just have nothing to do, thanks to a nearly unconscious script.
Screenwriter/actor Mike White (Chuck & Buck, Orange County) simply fails in his attempts to spark interest in the story. Not even the unpleasant sight of a fully nude Tim Blake Nelson can churn stomachs or turn heads; it simply provokes no reaction whatsoever. The Good Girl remains so shockingly drained of verve that it actually renders the audience into a numb stupor. A naked Pamela Anderson could strut across the screen jiggling her breasts and still couldn't jump life into the flat-lined audience.
At one point, Justine has a moment where she must choose her own destiny. For that brief time, she imagines the pros and cons of both futures and the audience curiously wonders which direction she will take. This moment effectively demonstrates the flaw of the central conflict. A movie about a character's choice has potential, but The Good Girl fails to make either option remotely appealing. If neither path has a silver lining, why should the audience care which one she chooses?
The good lip gloss.
Run time: 93 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 27th February 2003
Production compaines: Hungry Eye Lowland Pictures B.V., Fox Searchlight Pictures, Flan de Coco Films
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Miguel Arteta
Producer: Matthew Greenfield
Screenwriter: Mike White
Starring: Jennifer Aniston as Justine Last, Jake Gyllenhaal as Holden Worther, Zooey Deschanel as Cheryl, John C. Reilly as Phil Last, Deborah Rush as Gwen Jackson, Mike White as Corny, John Carroll Lynch as Jack Field, Your Store Manager, Tim Blake Nelson as Bubba, John Doe as Mr. Worther, Roxanne Hart as Mrs. Worther, Aimee Garcia as Nurse, Annie O'Donnell as Haggard Woman, Jon Shere as Lester, Alice Amter as Big Haired Woman, Jean Rhodes as Old Woman, Lalo Guerrero as Blackberry Vendor, Michael Hyatt as Floberta, Enzo as Bits, Ken Rudulph as Reporter, Jacquie Barnbrook as Heavy Set Woman