What are friends for, if not to help pay tribute with some good-natured ribbing?
Which is what Jennifer Aniston and her fiancé Justin Theroux did Thursday night, when the 26th American Cinematheque honored her Along Comes Polly costar Ben Stiller at a Beverly Hilton gala that also featured Will Ferrell and Jack Black on stage, and, in video clips, Tom Cruise, Judd Apatow, William Shatner, Conan O’Brien, Ben’s parents Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, sister Amy Stiller, and that showbiz newcomer, former President Bill Clinton.
On stage, Theroux – a longtime friend and writing collaborator of Stiller’s – introduced a laugh-out-loud video that starred Cruise, Owen Wilson, Robert Downey Jr., Al Pacino and Noah Baumbach – as well as Aniston, who made an onscreen cameo.
In the video, Theroux chases Aniston, seeking out an interview, though she demurs, saying she’ll be at the tribute in person. Just then, when she turns to face the camera, the frame freezes, and her name appears on screen.
When she was live on stage herself, Aniston introduced her own video, featuring romantic comedy scenes starring Stiller – who watched like a good sport with wife Christine Taylor.
Said Aniston: “All right, I’m here to introduce what every lady in this room has been waiting for. And that would be Ben Stiller’s lover package. Ben’s package is surprisingly large, very expansive, and its lasting power speaks for itself. It spans the length of his manhood – from boyish rogue in Reality Bites, to tender husband and father in the Focker flicks.”
She added about the guest of honor, “He is adorable. He’s sensitive. He’s shockingly ripped. And if you don’t believe me, I’d suggest pulling out your iPhone and Google-ing ‘Stiller Hawaii beach.’ Trust me, it’s intense.”
• Reporting by SCOTT HUVER