Having struggled to escape the long shadow of Friends, Jennifer Aniston ends up in a film with Friends in the title, playing the singleton with three married couples as chums. Nicole Holofcener’s follow-up to 2001’s Lovely & Amazing walks the same line – it’s a gentle comedy exploring human foibles. Then, families were the subject, here it’s rich people with first world problems, metrosexual tastes and lives obsessively focused on themselves. It is quite a cast – with Jennifer Aniston at the focus, playing the only one of this gang with no money and no love life, the only one who has to do shitty jobs for a living, including working as a cleaner, in full French maid regalia – apparently there is a constituency for Aniston dressed thus. Meanwhile, when she’s not dusting crannies, Aniston’s character has to put with the likes of Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand and Joan Cusack making sisterly clucking “ah, bless” noises. There’s the feeling of the brick wrapped in velvet in this comedy of mismatched power relations. No belly laughs but plenty enough to keep you grinning in an “I recognise that” kind of way.
© Steve Morrissey 2007