Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Okay, this is getting ridiculous

I'm hardly the first person to think or say the following things, but I am the first person to think or say them on this blog. (I'll let that set in a moment ...)

What's up with Jennifer Aniston continuing to make movies whose titles speak directly to her ongoing and very public failure to both find and keep a romantic partner?

The latest is Love Happens, due out this Friday. There are any number of Aniston-related punchlines that could stem from this title. They range from the obvious ("Um, no, it doesn't") to the indirect ("Love happens just like shit happens, and for Aniston, love certainly has proven to be shit.")

We're all familiar with both her romantic history (very public breakups with Brad Pitt, Vince Vaughn, John Mayer, Bradley Cooper, etc.) and her history of movie titles. But it doesn't hurt to list some of these titles here -- when lumped together, they provide all the more evidence of Aniston's uncanny career choices.

How about:

He's Just Not That Into You (2009). Yep, much as she is America's sweetheart, and waves upon waves of regular guys would stumble over each other to date her, Aniston keeps picking guys who just aren't that into her. Even when they are considerably less famous (Cooper) than she is.

The Break-Up (2006). Although this is the movie where she actually started dating Vaughn, now that they're broken up, it just seems like more and more of a perfect symbol of all her failed relationships.

Rumor Has It ... (2005) If the tabloids are any gauge, there's no more rumored about person in America.

Derailed (2005). A good one-word description of her seemingly perfect relationship with Pitt?

Management (2009). A stretch, but doesn't this title speak to how poorly her PR team has managed her love life in the press, especially letting Aniston continue to tell interviewers, less and less convincingly, that she is "over Brad"? Even if it's true, to keep telling people you are over your ex-husband, nearly five years after your marriage ended (which is more like ten years in Hollywood years), is poor image management indeed.

Marley & Me (2008). Men are dogs. Okay, this one's kind of a joke.

And that's not counting the titles from before her love life was a public obsession, such as She's the One (1996) and Picture Perfect (1997).

Looking ahead to the future, the tradition figures to continue.

The Baster (2010). A romantic comedy in which Aniston is artificially inseminated. The irony is that one of the reported reasons for her separation with Pitt is that she refused to place her career on hold to have kids. But then in recent years it's come out that she does want kids, and it's one of the driving forces behind her search for "the one." (It can't help that Pitt and Angelina Jolie have made or adopted about 12 of their own kids since then).

So is Jennifer Aniston some kind of incurable masochist?

I don't think so. What it really comes down to -- and this undercuts my whole argument -- is that many romantic comedies have titles or plots that can be made to have metaphorical significance for a romantically embattled star. For example, how about a list of movies in which Aniston did not star?

As Good As It Gets (1997)
Boys on the Side
Broken Flowers (2005)
The Crying Game (1992)
Desperate Measures (1998)
Domestic Disturbance (2001)
Down With Love (2003)
The End of the Affair (1999)
Enduring Love (2004)
Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
The Ex (2006)
Fools Rush In (1997)
Go Now (1996)
Happily N'Ever After (2007)
He Said, She Said (1991)
Heartbreakers (2001)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Infamous (2006)
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
I've Loved You So Long (2007)
The Ladykillers (2004)
The Last Kiss (2006)
Life Without Dick (2001)
Love and Other Catastrophes (1996)
Love Stinks (1999)
Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
Mr. Wrong (1996)
On the Ropes (1999)
Only the Lonely (1991)
Paparazzi (2004)
Rachel Getting Married (2008) (See what I did there? Her character from Friends?)
Seeing Other People (2004)
Single White Female (1992)
Something to Talk About (1995)
The Story of Us (1999)
Stuck on You (2003)
Trial and Error (1997)
27 Dresses (2008)
Unfaithful (2002)
What Women Want (2000)

See? Much more. And that's only including movies that she could have actually appeared in, because she was a working actress at the time. I had to skip some really good older ones.

Well, maybe Aniston is finally sick of it as well. Word has come out recently that she is taking a break from acting, though the clarification "at least until January" means it doesn't sound all that newsworthy.

Then again, anything Jennifer Aniston does is newsworthy. We can't help it. We love her. Myself included. She's our sweetheart.

I hope one day she finds one as well.

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