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The Good Girl
DVD disk
06.01.2004 By: The Arrow
The Good Girl order
Director:
Miguel Arteta

Actors:
Jennifer Aniston
Jake Gyllenhaal
John C. Reilly

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A married and bored 30-year old housewife named Justine (Aniston) works at a discount store and is not a happy camper about her situation. She eventually has an affair with a 22-year old stock boy (Gyllenhaal) who works at that same store, after which, life and all of its “topsy-turvy” twists happen.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Before watching this movie, I had I heard that it was a comedy. But apart from a couple of sharp lines, a few satirical pokes at the family unit and the “discount store” environment, I didn’t laugh much sitting through this one. The film played most of its cards very seriously and what I got out of it, in high doses at that, was an incredible sense of hopelessness. THE GOOD GIRL successfully connected with me through its first half by addressing themes that anybody in their 20’s-30’s can relate to. Questions like: “Is this my life?”- “Why do I hate the world?” or “Should I let go of my dreams and just settle with what I’ve got”?. These are powerful questions that we will all ask ourselves at one point or another and the well written screenplay and the solid acting by all supported them to a T.

Where the film lost its edge on me was in its lead Justine’s (Aniston) questionable actions to cover up her selfish acts. Now I know characters in movies won’t always do what we want them to do, but surely the film’s intention wasn’t for me to hate the Aniston character. Sadly, that’s what happened to a certain degree. The extreme measures she took to cover up her adultery and her incredible selfishness right up to the end put me off the gal. I slightly lost interest in her and since she was the story’s main focus, I somewhat lost interest in the film as well. Was the length at which she would go to not fess up supposed to be the comedic aspect of the film?? Well if it was, it didn’t work on me. In the end, I still enjoyed THE GOOD GIRL, the depressive aura in which it was coated and the acting in particular kept me in the loop. Too bad the lead character's growth didn’t.
THE EXTRAS
Audio commentary: Director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White come in to talk about the script, the shooting of specific scenes, the actors and more. Although low-key and sporting some dead time, I did find some things to hold my interest throughout this commentary and that kept me listening. Decent.

Scene-specific commentary: Listen to Miss Aniston talk about her part, her co-stars and the overall film as specific scenes roll on. We can either play the sequences individually or use the “play all” option. Okay but Jenny didn’t talk enough for my liking.

Alternate Ending (~ 30 seconds): This very short alternate ending didn’t bring much, if anything to the plate. Makes you wonder why they felt the need to put it on the DVD.

Deleted scenes (~ 8 minutes): We can watch these one by one or in “play all” mode. We also have the option of hearing a commentary by Arteta and White at the same time, in which they explain why the scenes in question got cut out. From a curiosity standpoint, this option came through but the substance (or lack of) in the scenes and the commentary itself didn’t bring much to the feature.

Gag reel (~ 2 minutes): See the actors flub their lines, forget their lines, ruin certain takes and get into laughing fits. I enjoyed this. It's always amusing to me to see people having a good time.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE GOOD GIRL is a good film. Its spot-on cast and universal subject matter supported it all the way to the end. Sure, it lost its grip on me during its second half, but the overall feeling I had after the end credits, was one of relative satisfaction. The DVD itself is passable, the features could’ve been stronger and the visual quality sharper, but all in all, an okay disk. Are you craving a character study that asks all the right questions without always giving you the right answers? Hit this one. Just don’t see it if there’s a dark cloud looming over your head at the moment, otherwise you might be having some “Drano” for breakfast.
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