Jennifer Aniston's Unsinkable Movie Career of Box Office Duds

Jennifer Aniston was a major television star, arguably the biggest breakout actor from the cast of the beloved sitcom Friends. Naturally, she used this as a jumping off point to the movies, where she has become a legitimate movie star. However, her major movies are often critically reviled, and only a few of them could be classified as hits. While some remember her work in smaller movies, such as The Good Girl or Office Space, fondly, and while no reasonable person would begrudge her a career or the big paychecks that come with it, the fact remains that Aniston has her fair share of box office duds. Here are a few of the movies that Aniston has had a significant role in that, to some degree, just didn’t work out.

We’re the Millers, dir. Rawson Thurber (2013)

We’re the Millers, Aniston’s latest picture, stars Jason Sudeikis on a down on his luck pot dealer who recruits a fake family to pile in an RV so they can head across the border to smuggle in some marijuana from Mexico. Aniston plays Rose O’Reilly, a stripper, whose role in the movie seems to mostly be doing stripper things. The movie currently has a 26% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter calling it “vulgar vanilla.” It remains to be seen how it does at the box office.

He’s Just Not That Into You, dir. Ken Kwapis (2009)

Turning a self-help book into a story for a movie is a tricky venture, but the folks behind He’s Just Not That Into You tried to pull it off. It sort of has the vibe of one of those ensemble holiday movies like Valentine’s Day, with several people playing out romantic relationships and all that good stuff. Aniston plays Beth, who is in a relationship with Neil, played by Ben Affleck, and everything is great except, oh no, he doesn’t want to get married! This movie isn’t quite as reviled as some other Aniston flicks, as it actually has a nigh mediocre rating of 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it made almost $94 million at the box office. Not great, but far from a flop.

Along Came Polly, dir. John Hamburg (2004)

Aniston plays the titular Polly in a movie you have seen, or at least heard of, one million times before. Man (Ben Stiller) on the verge of marriage loses his fiance to another man, and then finds himself running into a free spirit (in this case, Aniston) who teaches him how to unwind and stuff and then they fall in love or whatever. Your typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl stuff, which critics seemed to realize. While it made about $88 million at the box office, it did feature two major stars in Aniston and Stiller, it has a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps it is best summed up by David Edelstein of Slate, who wrote, “One of those films that celebrate spontaneity and risk-taking yet are so formulaic and un-risky that they strangle their own message.”

Rumor Has It, dir. Rob Reiner (2005)

A movie directed by Reiner featuring the likes of Aniston, Mark Ruffalo, Kevin Costner, and Shirley MacLaine, on paper, could be pretty good. Alas, nobody seemed to much like Rumor Has It, which didn’t even make a big mark on the box office. Aniston stars as Sarah Huttinger. She’s engaged to Ruffalo, but starts having second thoughts and the movie The Graduate is involved. Is Aniston’s grandmother the inspiration for Mrs. Robinson? Does anybody care? Critics didn’t, as it has a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. “I suppose it sounded like a good idea at the time,” lamented Peter Rainer of the Christian Science Monitor.

The Break Up, dir. Peyton Reed (2006)

The Break Up was undoubtedly a success, boasting a $118.7 take at the box office. That’s what a 2006 comedy co-starring Aniston and Vince Vaughn will get you. Aniston is Brooke. Vaughn is Gary. They were in love, but now they aren’t and they both refuse to move out of their new condo. A war to try and drive the other person out begins. Critics weren’t taken with this twist on the romantic comedy for the most part, as it’s 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes indicates.

The Bounty Hunter, dir. Andy Tennant (2010)

Well, a romantic comedy starring Gerard Butler and Aniston was never going to work in 2010, now was it? It all begins with Butler’s Milo Boyd tracking down his bail-jumping ex-wife Nicole Hurley, played by Aniston. A murder investigation somehow becomes a part of the story. Critics really disliked this movie, as it has a 13% Rotten Tomatoes score, which is abysmal. David Denby of the New Yorker proclaimed, “Even considered as no more than an assembly-line Hollywood product, The Bounty Hunter falls well below factory standards.” Fun fact: Sudeikis co-starred in this movie. He and Aniston will hope We’re the Miller does better than The Bounty Hunter.

Just Go With It, dir. Dennis Dugan (2011)

The only thing as guaranteed to be critically reviled as a Butler rom-com is an Adam Sandler comedy, which is what Just Go With It is. Sandler plays a plastic surgeon who convinces his assistant, Aniston, to pretend to be his soon-to-be ex-wife so that he can try and get with Brooklyn Decker. They all end up in Hawaii, because this is an Adam Sandler movie and he loves to set his comedies in nice locations. People went to see it, it made over $100 million, but it has a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. J.R. Jones of the Chicago Reader proclaimed, “Jennifer Aniston has starred in so many lame romantic comedies that she’s become an industry punch line, but drop her into an Adam Sandler movie and she comes off like Katharine Hepburn.” Well, that’s a nice backhanded compliment for Aniston.

Love Happens, dir. Brandon Camp (2009)

You may not remember Love Happens, because of its generic title and its $22.9 box office gross. It is a bit more of a dramatic film, with Aaron Eckhart’s Burke falling for Aniston’s Eloise. Eckhart is, get this, an expert on grieving, like he teaches classes on it and stuff, but, it turns out, he isn’t over his dead wife. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 17%. Stephen Cole of the Globe and Mail was sympathetic. “Hang in there Jen. You can do better,” he offered.

The Switch, dir. Josh Gordon and Will Speck (2010)

Good news for Aniston; This movie has a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes! Bad news: It only made $27.8 million at the box office. Possibly worse news: The utterly ridiculous plot of this movie. Aniston stars as Kassie, a woman who decides to impregnate herself via a donor. Jason Bateman plays Wally, a man in love with Kassie, unbeknownst to her. Naturally, Kassie’s friends throw an “insemination party” where Wally drunkenly switches the donor’s sample with his own. Really. Or did he? And does anybody care? Nobody will blame you if you don’t.

Management, dir. Stephen Belber (2009)

Another forgotten film, Management only made $0.8 million at the box office. Aniston plays art-dealer Sue Claussen. She has a one night stand with motel manager Mike Cranshaw (Steven Zahn) who then proceeds to follow Sue all over the country. You know, like a normal person. Sue has a boyfriend played by Woody Harrelson, who presumably doesn’t stalk women across the country. It does have a mediocre 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but Moira MacDonald of the Seattle Times lamented, “You watch Management thinking of the comedy Aniston and Zahn could have made, and wishing you were watching that movie instead.”

She’s the One, dir. Ed Burns (1996)

One of Aniston’s first starring roles in a movie, and a film actually generally better received by critics than audiences. Burns directed, starred, and wrote this movie, as he is wont to do, and Aniston plays Rene, who is married to one of the main characters. Cameron Diaz was also in this movie. So, there’s that. Rotten Tomatoes actually has it as a 56%, which is close to fresh. Not too shabby.

Picture Perfect, dir. Glenn Gordon Caron (1997)

This was Aniston’s first starring role, thanks in large part to Friends. A farce in the vein of a Bosom Buddies, that is to say improbable, Aniston plays Kate. She can’t get promoted unless she’s married. So she pretends to be married to Jay Mohr’s Nick, who is a stranger. Now, her boss wants to meet Nick. Also, the guy Aniston is interested in, played by Kevin Bacon, is now interested in her because she’s taken. It has a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The late Roger Ebert pontificated, “It’s a shame the plot is so contrived, because parts of this movie are really pretty good.” If only Ebert had known which direction Aniston’s movie career was headed in.

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