August 19, 2002 12:00 PM

Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C. Reilly, Tim Blake Nelson

Featured attraction

Justine Last (Aniston) is bored with her drab life in The Good Girl, an appealingly quirky comedy drama. She’s 30 years old, lives in a small Texas town and toils at the makeup counter of a store called Retail Rodeo. Nights she’s home watching TV with her housepainter husband (Reilly), who is invariably stoned on weed. “I used to lie in bed and imagine other lives, other cities, other jobs,” she tells a fellow clerk. “Now I don’t even know what to imagine anymore.”

When she embarks on a romance with a troubled younger colleague (Gyllenhaal), her life becomes more complicated than she can handle—especially when her hubby’s best pal (Nelson) discovers the affair and demands that Justine sleep with him too.

Directed by Miguel Areta and written by Mike White (the duo behind 2000’s disquieting Chuck & Buck), Girl is both funny and occasionally poignant. Aniston, a long way from Friends‘ hip urban environs, gives a warmly sympathetic performance as the one seemingly sensible person—and her claim becomes increasingly tenuous—amidst a sea of colorful wackos. Gyllenhaal, his expression perpetually woeful, is amusing as her unbalanced suitor. (R)

Bottom Line: Good indeed

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