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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.83%
Worth A Look37.5%
Average: 27.08%
Pretty Bad: 6.25%
Total Crap: 8.33%

2 reviews, 36 user ratings

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Good Girl, The
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by EricDSnider

"Good girl; OK movie"
3 stars

The men behind "The Good Girl" do not view their characters as real people. They are a means to an end, pawns in a game, punch lines to a joke. The director, Miguel Arteta, and the writer, Mike White, do not take them seriously, and neither should you.

As human punch lines, they do pretty well. Most of the jokes are, in fact, funny. But as the film wears on, and the situations grow more serious, it becomes difficult to feel any compassion for them. And a serious event without compassion is a cold, uninteresting affair.

The film stars Jennifer Aniston as Justine, an ordinary Texas girl. She is 30 and has been married for several years to Phil (John C. Reilly), a house painter who spends most of his time smoking pot with his buddy Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson). Justine's life is dull and uneventful. She loves her husband, and he loves her, but their marriage is stagnant. She works at Retail Rodeo, a local ShopKo sort of establishment, where she's just as bored as when she's at home.

And then she meets Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal), a brooding, quiet 22-year-old just hired as a cashier. His real name is Tom ("Tom is my slave name," he says), but he goes by Holden because he identifies with the protagonist of "Catcher in the Rye." Justine, increasingly trying to avoid "going to the grave with unlived lives in (my) veins," gives in to Holden's advances and begins an affair with him -- for which she immediately feels guilty.

The film almost might have worked better as a tragic romance, not a comedy. Gyllenhaal is fantastic as Holden, and Aniston is no slouch at her end, either. John C. Reilly is characteristically fresh and watchable as the pothead husband.

The comedy, meanwhile, is at times very funny, but Arteta keeps things too staid and repressed to ever achieve high hilarity. The best moments are with Justine's co-workers: a smiling Bible-thumper (screenwriter Mike White), an anarchic clerk (Zooey Deschanel), an optimistic makeup salesgirl (Deborah Rush).

It is well-plotted, too. Marital infidelity is nothing new in the movies, of course, and no new ground is broken here. (They try to make too much of the eight-year age difference between Justine and Holden.) But there are a few good twists and surprises; it is certainly not a by-the-numbers story.

Arteta's disaffected attitude comes across almost as haughty, like he's laughing at these people more than with them. The Coen Brothers are often accused of the same thing, as in "Raising Arizona" and "Fargo," but the difference is that those movies are either hysterically funny or profoundly well-executed. "The Good Girl" is adequately funny and reasonably well-executed, and nothing more.

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originally posted: 08/10/02 07:19:03
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User Comments

11/13/09 Someone there are some major perverts who like this movie. 0.o 4 stars
4/26/08 mb Interesting character but poor story. 2 stars
7/31/07 ravenmad I loved this movie: sweet, strange and pure. 5 stars
3/26/06 GWM jake forget ledger just spread my legs and ram your hot nine-incher into my wide open pussy 5 stars
8/27/05 ES She just can't land a good movie can she 2 stars
2/06/05 R.W. Welch Life gets complicated at Retail Rodeo. Quirky comdram with good cast & writing. 4 stars
1/29/05 blueviolet This was such a depressing movie. 3 stars
3/28/04 The More You Know Everyone in this movie is all f***ed up and f***s everyone else...who cares?! 3 stars
12/30/03 Chlo Gyllenhaal Justine is such an idiot - Holden is so gorgeous 5 stars
9/30/03 Diana it was good, I kept watching it, didn't like the ending 4 stars
9/27/03 Chlo (Mrs. Jake Gyllenhaal) This was mad! Jake's hot strong, muscly arms..... 5 stars
9/02/03 Jim Aniston channels Kidman from "To Die For" 4 stars
6/17/03 MF Would rather eat razor blades then see it again... 1 stars
5/28/03 Pussy Lips I like to pee. I would like to piss on the jerkoff who did a fucking book report on this 1 stars
5/19/03 Smoogles Sad and depressing 4 stars
5/17/03 Jady Don't miss this movie 4 stars
4/17/03 Shadaan Felfeli Quite depressing . Thank god for the sensible casting. 3 stars
3/30/03 mara z. sad/interesting characters, but ruined by over-acting. not as good as the hype. 3 stars
3/02/03 karen excellent movie! aniston is surprisingly great, and jake always rocks. 5 stars
2/17/03 Phil M. Aficionado I have a complex reaction to this; it is not "memorable" but it is good has insights. 4 stars
1/17/03 LF this movie sucks, dont waste your time on it. 1 stars
11/21/02 Reini Urban I've seen a lot but this is my favorite movie in this genre 5 stars
11/06/02 Vickie Fascinating 5 stars
10/18/02 Linda Gallagher one of the most subtle movies I've ever seen. Truly beautiful, Mike White is amazing. 5 stars
9/29/02 john smith excellent show ... tender, well acted and touching 5 stars
9/26/02 marco guerra better than most but not as good as people think. 3 stars
9/10/02 .Choadushouse. Intensely & sadly realistic. Great performances. A movie you can really feel. 4 stars
9/09/02 Suzz What comedy? Depressing stuff of the we all lead lives of quiet desperation ilk. 2 stars
9/03/02 Sham Sundar The plot was horribly predictable. I honestly believe that Jerry Springer wrote this movie. 1 stars
9/03/02 Erica Pretty Good. 4 stars
8/29/02 Jake Very entertaining and real 4 stars
8/29/02 wintermute Only the occasioanl joke made the plod through this average film bearable. 3 stars
8/27/02 Christopher Very well done. 4 stars
8/12/02 nim hh 5 stars
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  07-Aug-2002 (R)



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