The Good Girl

Rated 3.0

A discount store clerk (Jennifer Aniston), bored and stifled by life with her amiable lump of a husband (John C. Reilly), slides into an affair with an unstable young co-worker (Jake Gyllenhaal), then tries to extricate herself without hurting anyone. Mike White’s script tends to poke fun at its blue-collar characters—especially Aniston’s boss (John Carroll Lynch) and a Bible-thumping security guard played by White himself. But Miguel Arteta directs with an empathy that keeps the film from becoming as mean-spirited as the script by itself might suggest. Aniston is a revelation; she shows more range and depth here than in any of her previous films, and far more than she’s ever shown on Friends. As her emotionally fragile paramour, Gyllenhaal is almost painful to watch—raw, needy, and sad.