The Good Girl

Inconsistent infidelity drama

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Opens January 10, Cert 15, 94 mins

Jennifer Aniston is a fine actress in need of a credibility boost. Unfortunately, The Good Girl isn’t quite the vehicle to do so. It’s a pity, as this domestic drama begins with fine intentions. Aniston is Justine, an intelligent woman stuck in a dead-end job and stuck with oafish stoner husband Paul (John C Reilly). When the enigmatic and handsome Holden (Donnie Darko’s Jake Gyllenhaal) begins working alongside her in a supermarket, he seems to offer a way out. They embark on a joyous and passionate affair but it quickly goes wrong. Holden becomes increasingly unhinged and possessive, while Paul’s redneck pal Bubba (Tim Blake Nelson) blackmails Justine over the affair.

Initially, the characters and script deftly capture the oppressive tedium of backwater America. But Holden’s abrupt character change is hammy and unconvincing, while the narrow focus on Justine’s infidelity means this has all the range of a British soap. Director Miguel Arteta can’t quite decide whether this is indie arthouse or a light mainstream drama and so awkwardly straddles the two. A missed opportunity?especially for Aniston.

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