Stop Blaming Jennifer Aniston!

Posted by: Brad Sturdivant

When I realized I was inspired to write this editorial, I had to peek outside my window to see if Armageddon hadn’t swept through the world.  Me defending Jennifer Aniston has to be a signal to the end of the world.  I’ve bashed her relentlessly since the 6th or 7th season of ‘Friends’ and for the longest time, I’ve found her to be a very obnoxious, uppity person with a horrible screen presence.  But as I’ve watched her last few movies, I’ve come to realize that I was wrong.  What’s surprising about this is that now we find ourselves in a time where it seems like everyone else hates her.  Critics and fans alike want to blame her for the box office bombs she’s appeared in lately and even her die-hard fans are questioning whether or not she’ll ever strike box office gold.  But let me let you in on a little secret; it’s not her fault.

Jennifer Aniston

When I say “not her fault”, let me be clear by saying it’s not her fault the movies were either a) bad movies or b) box office flops.  One can make the argument that it’s her fault for even choosing to do the films, which I wouldn’t argue with.  But saying they failed because of something she did or didn’t do is unfair to Aniston.  Her last 8 or 9 movies have suffered for a variety of reasons.  THE SWITCH and LOVE HAPPENS just didn’t have the broad appeal that most romantic comedies have and I wouldn’t have expected them to be huge successes with any actress.  But on top of that, they weren’t her movies.  At best, she was a supporting character for Jason Bateman and Aaron Eckhart.  It should also be noted that both movies were actually pretty decent.

Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart in Love Happens

But let’s look at some that weren’t so great; THE BOUNTY HUNTER and MARLEY & ME.  In these films, she did fine for what was asked of her.  Nothing, and no one, could make THE BOUNTY HUNTER bearable as long as Gerard Butler was in the lead role.  As for Marley, they took the most depressing, boring elements of the book and made a movie out of it, leaving out everything that made the book fun.  No one wants to watch a two hour movie with a 45 minute doggie death scene.  But blaming Aniston for these films isn’t right.  If anything, she should be criticized for not taking roles that feature her more prominently.  I think she can carry a film and a role focused on her instead of her male lead would be a better measure of her star power.

Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston in The Bounty Hunter

But Jennifer Aniston doesn’t do herself any favors in the public’s eye.  She has that snotty, spoiled, cheerleader personality type that is only exacerbated whenever Brad Pitt or any of her other boyfriends are brought up.  But there’s a line between how a celebrity acts in real life and how they perform in front of a camera.  Even though I’m not her biggest fan, I for one, have to take a moment and reflect before I dismiss her next film just because she’s in it.  I know it’s fun to hate her, but blaming her is not always justified.

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