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The Good Girl

Romance . Comedy . Drama

A discount store clerk strikes up an affair with a stock boy who considers himself the incarnation of Holden Caulfield.

Actors: Zooey Deschanel , Jake Gyllenhaal , Jennifer Aniston , Roxanne Hart , John Doe , Tim Blake Nelson , John Carroll Lynch , Mike White , Deborah Rush , John C. Reilly
Directors: Miguel Arteta
Release: 2002-08-30
More Info:
  • David Sterritt

    Aniston and Reilly give the best of many excellent performances. A few plotty scenes aside, this quietly directed drama paints a sensitive, sympathetic portrait of modern malaise, and has a smart sense of humor as a bonus.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Kevin Thomas

    The extraordinary quality of White's script and Arteta's direction lifts the meticulously cast actors to the height of their abilities. "Friends" star Aniston digs deep but is never showy. Reilly reveals the tenderness, vulnerability and hidden depth that can lurk within a slob, and Nelson has some of the film's most outrageously funny and inspired moments.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Kim Morgan

    A slow burn. A portrait of the mundane humor and horror of everyday life, it scalds nerves you may have never thought existed. And yet the film is funny, almost hilariously at times.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    There's more to everyone here than we're initially led to think. The Good Girl is like a neurotically charged post-millennial take on the trailer-park comedies that Jonathan Demme once claimed for himself.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    Aniston delivers an utterly un-Rachel-like performance. It's neurosis-free and unmannered, by turns funny, sad and profound.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    Jennifer Aniston has at last decisively broken with her "Friends" image in an independent film of satiric fire and emotional turmoil. It will no longer be possible to consider her in the same way.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Megan Lehmann

    A comedy as black as the asphalt desert of a mall parking lot.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    A sharp-tongued, subtly nuanced tragicomedy starring Jennifer Aniston, who shows her depth as a serious actress in this dark tale.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Doesn't have the daring lunacy of "Chuck and Buck," the previous collaboration by director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White. Yet it gets closer to the troubled, lonely soul of its main character.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    Like "Chuck & Buck," The Good Girl is a droll, well-acted, character-driven comedy with unexpected deposits of feeling.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • David Rooney

    This one comes up short in terms of visual flair. But it delivers amusingly observed characters, consistent laughs underscored by the poignancy of unfulfilled existences and winning performances from a terrific cast captained by Jennifer Aniston.

    Variety Full Review
  • Gregory Weinkauf

    Arteta targets Middle American ennui with wit, compassion and no shortage of ornery malaise.

    New Times (L.A.) Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    Succeeds as a moody, evocative, and pleasing film, one that underscores its indie roots in sentiment as well as style

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Michael Wilmington

    There's a shallowness about The Good Girl that can't always be excused as an accurate portrayal of a shallow milieu -- in the end, just like Justine, it's not as good as it could have been.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Never crosses over into meanness, and even the most satirical character has a moment of empathy.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    In Aniston's previous film roles, the "Friends" star has made little impression, but under the direction of the gifted young Arteta, she's certainly grown to fill the big screen here, and looks ready to leap from TV to film.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    There's humor in it, and sadness, and an acid-tinged humor that is miles away from the branded levity of "Friends." More power to Aniston for feeling the need to try something different, and then doing it -- well.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    A smart, arch and rather cold-blooded comedy.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Offers nothing more spectacular than a character study. And, although The Good Girl's protagonist may be trapped by routine, that's one claim that can never be made about the movie.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    Aniston plays her depressed character with enough conviction to guarantee that practically every scene will be stolen out from under her by minor characters, among them a pricelessly funny Zooey Deschanel as a Retail Rodeo employee who vents her rage and frustration on the customers.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Stephen Hunter

    It's tough, astringent, darkly funny and . . . well, it's also generic, untidy, condescending and mild of impact rather than stunning.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Bill Stamets

    This is hardly Flaubert, but it is a fairly beguiling look at moral calculation.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Sean Axmaker

    At its best, The Good Girl is a refreshingly adult take on adultery, where the dark humor and offbeat fringe characters don't get in the way of the consequences or the quiet declarations of devotion slipped between the words.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    Despite Aniston's hard work, Good Girl could be better.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Ken Fox

    Even during the most intense moments, it's hard to shake the impression that the conspicuously buff-and-polished Justine is only visiting this drab world, her miserable life an interesting career move.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Don R. Lewis

    While many questions and motivations are left unanswered, overall the film wins out with it's stark truths and slightly twisted pay off's along the way.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    Never quite establishes its own identity, and when you remember it in two years it's likely to be that movie you saw that you kind of liked with that girl in it, what's her name, from TV. Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    There are times when The Good Girl is so low-key it damn near flatlines. Luckily, White creates compelling characters with a few deft brush strokes. The actors fill in the rest.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The movie gets funnier and less obvious as it goes along, and Zooey Deschanel is a hoot as a disdainfully bored co-worker who ritually insults the zombie chain-store shoppers -- but what is The Good Girl saying, exactly?

    Slate Full Review
  • Richard Schickel

    What makes The Good Girl worthwhile is its performances. All the actors play their entrapment with a weirdly convicted blankness. That's especially true of Aniston.

    Time Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    The Good Girl isn't really the title of this movie at all. Instead, it's now widely known as The Movie That Proves Jennifer Can Act.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Only pretends to care about good people who sometimes do bad things. In fact, it hasn't got time for the pain.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    Skillfully sketches the parameters of its small-town existence but never quite fleshes out the inhabitants of those parameters. Without the well-considered humor and strongly defined characters of "Chuck," only a good cast stands between Girl and some familiar stereotypes.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Chris Kaltenbach

    It's a deft sleight-of-story Aniston, White and Arteta pull off, giving us a character who seems more than she is, but is really less than she appears.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
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