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Review: The Good Girl (2002)

The Good Girl (2002)

Directed by: Miguel Arteta

Premise: A convenience store clerk (Jennifer Aniston) frustrated with her life begins an affair with a new employee (Jake Gyllenhaal) and turns her sense of right and wrong upside down.

What Works: The Good Girl is a very effective film. The story uses very familiar characters and situations and presents them in a new way. Admirably, the film expands upon the stereotypes of the characters and creates sympathy for nearly every character. The stand out performance of the film is Aniston, who strays very far from the roles she is usually associated with and gives a nuanced but very real portrayal of a woman in a midlife crisis. There is some wonderful black humor to The Good Girl.  Although the film will often be found in the comedy section of the local video store, the story is serious enough that it ought to be categorized in the drama section.

What Doesn’t: The storyline is a bit by-the-numbers as a bored wife meets an exciting quirky new guy, and has hurtful choices placed in front of her. This kind of story has been done a lot and there are not many surprises in the plot, but The Good Girl is really more about character. Those who are expecting the usual sarcastic, hip Aniston character should be aware that this film does not provide that. 

DVD extras: Deleted scenes, alternate ending, commentary track.

Bottom Line: The Good Girl is a diamond in the rough that really deserves more attention. Although the plot does not deviate much from its formula, it does present interesting characters with textured portrayals.

Episode: #103 (July 9, 2006)