Friends With Money

Friends With Money

Jennifer Aniston movies are like watermelon – sometimes you’ll buy one that’s soft and scrumptious, other times you’ll inadvertently pick up one that’s overtly mushy and bland.

Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener

Jennifer Aniston movies are like watermelon – sometimes you’ll buy one that’s soft and scrumptious, other times you’ll inadvertently pick up one that’s overtly mushy and bland.

Unlike fruit though, the pricier the film Aniston’s starring in, the greater the chance that it’ll suck. She’s done quite a few big studio films now – including “Derailed”, “Along Came Polly”, “Picture Perfect”, and “Rumour has It” – and looking back none of them have worked for her as well as the cheaper independent offerings she’s done, like Ed Burn’s “She’s the One” (1996) and the acclaimed, “The Good Girl” (2002). Thankfully, “Friends with Money” has the budget of a community fair, so it’s already scored points off the bat.

The film tells of four friends who have been buddies all their lives. The three friends with money, Frannie (Joan Cusack), Jane (Frances McDormand), and Christine (Catherine Keener), share a concern for Olivia (Jennifer Aniston) who seems unable to make a living or sustain a relationship – at least by their standards. Their group examination of her lack of options magnifies each of their own doubts and concerns about the marriages and careers to which they have committed themselves.

Olivia, meanwhile, drifts through each of her friends’ lives, at times avoiding the issue of money altogether, and at other times accepting her friends’ painful generosity. Ultimately, Olivia will find satisfaction and stability from an unexpected place, but her own somewhat happy ending is muted by the harsh reality of the suddenly disassembled lives of her best friends.

This is a very entertaining movie (what there is of it anyway, see below). The characters are real, the situations are real, and the performances are immerse and relatable. Aniston gambles with her squeaky-clean image by playing a grass-smoking sex-loving maid, and it works. It’s refreshing to see the former “Friends” star playing something other than a wealthy, bubbly socialite.

Aniston’s co-stars are as equally convincing – Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener…all giving it their best. Thing is, none of that matters when someone on the team isn’t giving it their all.

Who isn’t giving the film their best though is director/screenwriter Nicole Holofcener, About 70 minutes in the film, she seemingly runs out of things to say and becomes a little lost in the journey, and ditches it. Fade to Black. What? It’s over? No more? Where’s the pay-off? She perfectly set up these characters, but then didn’t know what to do with them – its very disappointing.

Worth checking out to see a different turn from Aniston.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris

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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole. Loves David Lynch, David Fincher... actually, any filmmaker by the name of David.

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