THE GOOD GIRL

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I’m going to keep this real short. If Jennifer Aniston died tomorrow, I would be less broken up about it than most people. Before watching The Good Girl I would have said that I wouldn’t have cared at all. Mrs. Pitt, however, turned in such a subtle performance as your typical, everyday, unwashed American woman, that I have to admit she has some talent. In fact, she may be the only member of the Friends’ cast who doesn’t need to be shot in the head.

The Good Girl is a good movie. Not great, and not particularly memorable. There are two laugh-out-loud moments (“Slave Name” and the manager’s speech at the end) and I applaud writer Mike White for not coping out on the ending and turning the movie into just another piece of Hollywood schlock. Meaning that Aniston’s character had a chance to forget about real life, responsibility, reality, etc., and didn’t. She acted like a real human, not some goofball in a Range Rover that’s never left asphalt in Santa Monica’s version of a human.

I’m not sold on Jake Gyllenhaal. He was good in Donnie Darko, but he basically plays the same character here only without any supernatural or time traveling powers. In other words, he is a not so believable emotional train wreck and I’m thinking he is going to be the best looking one trick pony since Leonardo “I should have retired after the Oscar” Decaprio. Time will tell. I hope Jakey Jake proves me wrong. His sister is cute.

The supporting cast was really strong much to the benefit of the movie. We all know and love John C. Riley and he is spot on as Aniston’s dopey, stoner house painter husband. Even though I am generally against Hollywood types making fun of the working man, Riley is so believable and natural at it that all is forgiven. Tim Blake Nelson plays Riley’s partner in crime, Bubba, and he is all right. Nowhere near as powerful as when he played Delmar in O Brother, Where Art Thou? If Bubba had been fleshed out a little better (Bubba’s purpose in regards to the plot were telegraphed within ten seconds of his appearance in the film) I wouldn’t have to type so much. Still, Mr. Nelson is a very charismatic up on screen.

My two favorite performers, other than Aniston, were writer Mike White, who played an annoying Jesus freak security guard, and John Carroll Lynch, who plays Drew Carey’s Transvestite brother on TV, but underplays the store manager in The Good Girl. Like I said, he sort of steals the show at the end. Zooey Deschanel is in the movie, too. All I know about her was that one time my old roommate and I threw a party where we only invited girls and she showed up. I was talking her up until she pulled out her ID and I noticed that she was born in 1980 (This was a few years back). I threw her ID across the room and she left. Also, special Ruthless props to John Doe. I love that guy.

All in all, The Good Girl is a cute, not quite brutal enough take on isolation, sexual longing and our collective American life. I’m thinking that if some of the ha-ha funny bits had been chopped out and replaced with Scorsese style humor (“You made me pop your eyeball out of your head for fucking Tommy T?”) then The Good Girl would have been a better movie. It’s not going to win any awards, but when I see it on the shelf in the video store five years from now, I’ll think, “That was pretty good.”

Ruthless Ratings:

  • Overall: 6
  • Direction: 7
  • Acting: 7
  • Story: 6
  • Re-watchability: 3

Special Ruthless Ratings:

  • Number of times you realized that all hot chicks have to do to look homely is to pull their jeans up over their bellybuttons: 34
  • Number of times you wanted to tell Gyllenhaal to get some range: 16
  • Number of times you thought it was dumb that Jennifer Aniston slept with Bubba: 12
  • Number of times you shook your fist in victory that the ending didn’t suck: 7
  • Number of times you told other people to go and see it: Maybe once, but maybe not.
About Jonny Lieberman

Jonny was the site’s co-founder and helped carry the place in the early years. There was a falling out with Erich and he left the site for good, but a lot of his reviews live on. He has moved on to a successful career writing about cars. Look him up.