OK, I felt a little like Bob Saget from How I Met Your Mother in writing that headline. The first set photos from Jennifer Aniston‘s new comedy We’re the Millers have gone online, with the lovely (but pitied) star frumping it up to play Jason Sudeikis‘ fake wife. See, he’s a veteran pot dealer (um, sure) who creates a fake family with Jen and Emma Roberts in order to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico. Oh, and Jennifer’s character is a hooker.
Reverse the hottie-to-soccer-mom transformation, and you have a role that sounds a lot like her character in Just Go With It, where she put a ring on it to get Adam Sandler laid. But no one will care that studios have officially run out of roles to cast her in, and the movie will scrape by with a meager profit, enough for her to turn around and do the whole thing again. Remember when Jennifer Aniston was too good to play someone’s fake wife over and over ad nauseum?
Just like Julia Roberts, Jennifer had some key rom-com roles in her youth. But I don’t think it’s just a matter of her getting too old to play the ingenue; rom-coms used to be a lot smarter and less formulaic! From 1997 to 2001, she played an advertising exec who pretends to be engaged so she’s “stable” enough for her dream promotion (Picture Perfect); a pregnant woman in love with her gay best friend Paul Rudd (The Object of My Affection); a Chili’s-esque waitress who doesn’t have enough “bling” (Office Space); and the girlfriend of an aspiring rock singer who’s threatened by his on-tour lifestyle (Rock Star).
And now! She’s either some down-and-out bum who gets all dolled up to con someone, or — when they’re trying to keep her sexy — she’s an uncomfortably touchy-feely and borderline abusive boss. At least I could believe her in the other roles; her latest movies make her into a caricature.
I’d say that her last good, strong rom-com lead role was in 2006′s The Break-Up, and before that… well, a combination of The Good Girl, Office Space, and her day job on Friends. I think I’ve hit upon the problem: Jen was most dynamic when she was parlaying her talents into a variety of roles, all at once. When you could turn on the TV on Must-See Thursday and see Rachel Greene, then watch that same bubbly star in a dark indie, you appreciated each performance for what it was, as well as her range.
Suffice to say, I will not be seeing We’re the Millers. I won’t even rent it on OnDemand when I’m home alone and bored. I just wish that poor Emma Roberts had a better rom-com role model to follow.