The Good Girl (2002)


Ebert:1/2 San Francisco Examiner: TV Guide:

Every now and then I go see a critically acclaimed independent film.  This one has Rachel from TV's "Friends" in it.  If you're anything like me you never miss an opportunity to see John C. Rielly.  If you're not like me, you're probably just a big Jennifer Aniston fan like everybody else in the world.  Anyway, regardless of where your loyalties are The Good Girl is a pretty good movie.  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it.

Mrs. Brad Pitt (Aniston) plays Justine, a 30ish nobody make-up clerk in a cruddy little third rate discount department store in Texas called Retail Rodeo.  Everyday after work she comes home to a her sad little house, her perpetually stoned, TV zombie, house painter husband  and his always there friend and co-worker Bubba.  Her life is tedious.  Her job is boring and humiliating.  Her co-workers are no better or hopelessly worse off than she until the day Holden starts working there.  She strikes up a friendship with the brooding teenage cashier that quickly escalates into a passionate sexual affair.

The film does has some funny parts in it.  The writer of the movie, Mike White, is hilarious as the Christian Fundamentalist security guard at the store, and the girl that gets demoted from store P.A. announcer to make-up clerk is a scene stealer.  But over all The Good Girl is just an OK drama with a few really funny parts.  

About 1/2 way through the film I started to realize that the tone and rhythm is almost exactly the same as Raising Arizona. I'm not comparing it to that Coen Brothers masterpiece of comedy, but it does borrow heavily from it.  Especially the impossibly philosophic voice over's by Justine.  Maybe I'm wrong but I just don't think moderately educated, small town retail clerks have such deep and eloquent inner monologues. 

I gave The Good Girl three stars instead of two only because it's so critically loved.  I don't want to discourage anyone from seeing it because it probably speaks more strongly to some and they may better appreciate it.  There were numerous times in the story when I would have gone in a different direction so I suppose the worst thing I can really say about is that I wouldn't have made it that way.