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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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PICTURE PERFECT

SYNOPSIS:
Jennifer Aniston plays an ambitious ad executive who can't find a guy (oh yeah, right), but for some strange reason is in lust with fellow worker Kevin Bacon, who loves to fool around with taken women, you know, engaged or married types. Jen's mother (Olympia Dukakis) is at her wit's end. Then suddenly, her best friend creates a guy for her to help gain a promotion and respect in the workplace. The guy (Jay Mohr) does exist - she met him briefly at an Indian wedding - and suddenly, when he appears in the paper for some heroic deed, she persuades him to come back to New York, meet her co-workers, pretend to break up, and they'll go their separate ways. Naturally, things don't go according to plan and, well, you know the rest.

"Lightweight in the feel-good romantic comedy stakes, Picture Perfect is one of those films with a toe-tapping contempo soundtrack that is pretty to look at and mindlessly enjoyable to watch, but falls short of anything more. While the concept has some merit and chuckle value, it lacks any sense of reality, and basically reeks of being contrived. Jennifer Aniston, with her beguiling personality, has built up a great TV following, and she shows good comedic sense of timing. While her performance is engagingly effervescent, her emotional range is somewhat limited, her character remaining totally artificial. We get to admire her from all angles, and yes, she looks great. Her outfits, all low-cut with very short skirts, range from cute trendy to Audrey Hepburn sleek. The notion of a star vehicle obviously was appealing, but over-kill, with Aniston in every scene, becomes a heavy cross to bear. Kevin Bacon is terrific as Sam, who lusts after but can’t commit to women. There’s real movie magic in his scenes, and he generates scintillating chemistry with Aniston. By contrast, Jay Mohr, a weak link as Mr Wonderful, is unconvincing and as bland as undercooked, sugar-free porridge; Olympia Dukakis’ cameo as the hysterical manipulative mum is entertainingly over the top. Check out the scene when Aniston and Mohr rehearse their ‘break-up’; the restaurant scene, while totally contrived, is quite a hoot. If you believe all you see in the movies, advertising execs are on a par with lawyers… Pretty pictures? yes; perfect? no."
Louise Keller

"OK, now imagine you're a hot shot studio executive type sitting around, tossing ideas. ‘Hey, I got one’, the larger, cigar-chewing uni dropout says. ‘That chick in the new series Friends, the cute one, yeah Jennifer something. Let's put her in a movie.’ ‘Hey yeah’, the thinner bespectacled, gawky type utters all too excitingly. ‘But we don't have a movie for her.’ ‘So?’ says the fat guy. Put her on a set, give her some short dresses, oh, and she can do that clearing the throat thing she does so effortlessly on TV. The rest will take care of itself.’ You've got the picture right, and it's far from perfect. Picture Perfect is one of those routine studio films that suffers from the outset of being so star-driven, that it loses sight on the fact that there's an audience out way in need of entertainment, a spark that bolts from the screen. That you don't get here. Aniston is appealing in a sexy, miniskirt kind of way, but with this trite film, it's as if Rachel from Friends has been transplanted in this big screen yawn and is trying to fight her way back to TV land. Picture Perfect has some bright moments, but overall, it's a lifeless, meandering affair that lacks the spark, energy and sheer goofiness of classy romantic comedy. The guys here are just as dull, but then Aniston is seen in every angle, every major shot, the poor guys can't compete with such flagrant egotism. Star-driven films are fine and dandy, but even Julia Roberts gave her co-stars equal time in My Best Friend's Wedding. But I forgot, they also had a script to work with. Picture Perfect? I don't think so."
Paul Fischer



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PICTURE PERFECT (M)
(US)

 

CAST: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Bacon, Jay Mohr, Olympia Dukakis, Illeama Douglas, Kevin Dunn, Faith Prince, Anne Tworney

DIRECTOR: Glenn Gordon Caron

PRODUCER: Erwin Stoff

SCRIPT: Arlene Sorkin, Paul Slansky, Glenn Gordon Caron

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Paul Sarossy

EDITOR: Robert Reitano

MUSIC: Carter Burwell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Larry Fulton

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 30, 1997

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: March 27, 2002







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