Jennifer Aniston wants so badly to be in love in real life and in her movies, but she can rarely sell it. Wanderlust and its press tour is no exception and I spent the majority of the film trying to locate Jennifer and Justin Theroux’s love connection. After all, the tabloids and talk shows have been trying to tell us for weeks that these star-crossed lovers met on set and turned their on-screen relationship into a real life love story. Typical stories about the two of them sound just like this one from ABC:
“Nothing happened on that movie. I mean, that was sort of — that’s what is a rumor,” she said. “I mean, it’s again, it’s the easy rumor. But nothing happened. We were just friends, great friends, on the movie…I’ve known Justin for a long time…we met when he was shooting “Tropic Thunder,” said Aniston.“He is really cute,” she said.
I assumed that their first scene together would explode with romance. That the audience would orgasm just seeing their palpable love. That we would all turn to the person sitting next to us and confess everything that we thought we knew about relationships was wrong, because Jen and Justin just redefined the entire concept.
But alas, that didn’t happen. That’s not to say Wanderlust wasn’t good, because it was very good. I laughed the whole time and felt like I was in on some kind of Wet Hot American Summer reunion. I also love Paul Rudd in the way the media loves analyzing Jennifer Aniston’s uterus. So overall, I thought the movie was great.
However that doesn’t change the fact that Jennifer Aniston didn’t really have much chemistry with Justin Theroux. Sure the goat milking scene was hot, but when is goat milking not hot? So yes, while there were a few moments where I saw a flicker of something, it never lasted long enough for me to say that they were meant to be. Then again, even when she’s not dating her co-star in real life, how often does Jennifer Aniston ever convince me that she’s meant to be with her on-screen partner?
Role after role after role, (seriously how does she get so many?), she continues to play some variation of Rachel, her signature character from Friends. A chic, savvy woman who struggles with a relationship, but perseveres with her slightly quirky personality. Never enough quirk to actually be debilitating, but enough to differentiate her from a mannequin. But this vague character that she plays in every movie never has enough of anything to ever have chemistry with anyone.
I’ve never finished watching a Jennifer Aniston movie and thought to myself, “wow, for a second there I forgot that was a movie and they were acting. I thought they were actually in love.” I usually think, “that was okay, standard chick flick for Jen.”
When you watched Along Came Polly, did you ever believe that she would hook up with Ben Stiller? There was even more of a suspension of disbelief needed when she dated Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty. In both movies, she came off like she was doing everyone a favor by pretending like she would actually date these guys. Like the girl who made a haircut famous in the ’90s would give Ben Stiller more than a passing glance. Yeah right.
It’s not Jennifer Aniston’s fault completely. She’s not casting herself as a romantic lead in all these movies. I just don’t think she the acting skills needed to convey sexual attraction. That smoldering stare or provocative stance or whatever it is that convinces us that two characters are meant to be together.
Are her and Justin really dating or is this all some big publicity stunt? My cynical PR detector says it’s the latter, but my hope that Jennifer Aniston finally found someone hopes it’s the former. Ever since Brad Pitt started dating she-who-must-not-be-named-in-a-Jennifer-Aniston-article, the media’s decided to paint Jen as a barren spinter who’s engaged to misery and dating loneliness on the side.
So for her sake, I hope Justin’s the real thing. Even if she couldn’t convince me of that on-screen.