Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

There is nothing more disappointing that to watch an actor or actress do less than what they are capable of doing in any given role.

I actually admire actors who try on different roles that may not be their strong suit and work to be good at it. I love Nicole Kidman who is great at the dramatic roles but has also done a supernatural thriller (The Others) and comedy (Bewitched). Her co-star in the latter movie, Will Ferrell, took a risk when he made Stranger Than Fiction. It showed us a serious side to the actor we normally see in comedies.

Last week I talked about how I wish Adam Sandler would do more movies that showcase his dramatic abilities. If there is one female star that I could choose who I wish would do more risky roles, it would be Jennifer Aniston.

We know her as best as Rachel from the TV show that launched her career. Over the years she has made romantic comedies that have made me shake my head, wondering why she wasted her time on these movies. As you might imagine, the movies I am talking about are for adult consumption and not for the kiddies.

But then Aniston took a chance when she made The Good Girl in 2002. The story is about a young woman who is bored in her marriage to house painter John C. O’Reilly. That is when she strikes up a relationship with the new stock boy, Jake Gyllenhall.

What the woman does not realize is that the boy is unstable. But she will have to deal with that aspect of his personality as well as the discovery of the affair. For Aniston, this was the step away from her Rachel persona that she needed. The role was complex and the character grows in understanding by the end of the movie.

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It would take four years till we saw Anniston in another movie that expanded her skills. Friends With Money also starred Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack and Catherine Keener. The story is about four friends, one of whom has gone through a divorce and quit her job as a teacher at a private school.

What we see is a woman who is confused and not dealing well with the changes in her life but is lucky enough to have good friends who try to help her through it all. Those friends are not at great points of their life either. We see inside the world of the rich through the eyes of a woman who used to be better off. It is a movie I enjoy and wish Anniston would try more often.

There are two movies I have not seen with Anniston that also break away a bit from her usual role. One is Horrible Bosses in which she plays a dentist who sexually harasses he employee. Anniston takes on the unfamiliar role of the bad guy and critics loved what she did with it.

The other movie is Love Happens.  While this is another romantic comedy, I am interested because I love Aaron Eckhart. I am also interested by the subject matter of two people recovering from broken hearts and not sure if they can trust again. The worst that can happen is I waste a few hours but I can also do a craft while watching the movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.