Directed by Glenn Gordon Caron. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Jay Mohr, Kevin Bacon, Olympia Dukakis, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Dunn, Anne Twomey. (1997, PG-13, 102 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 1, 1997
The Friends transition to the big screen continues unabated with this, the Aniston entry into the fray, and as might be expected, the blandest actress on NBC's hit show also gives the weakest star turn thus far (Lisa Kudrow is still in the running). Aniston's perky, lip-chewing angst is cute enough in prime time, but it's not enough to sustain a feature film, and so Picture Perfect ends up feeling like an over-long, over-nice, made-for-TV movie that goes nowhere quick. Aniston plays Kate, a young Madison Avenue ad exec with a stalled career and love life. Her boss (Dunn) fears Kate's single marital status makes her too risky to promote (lest she leave the company along with valuable clients), her mother (Dukakis) is aching for grandchildren, and her studly co-worker Sam (Bacon) won't give her the time of day because she's not married. Things take a turn for the better -- and the ludicrous -- when Kate's best friend and co-worker Darcy (Douglas) suddenly invents a fiancé for Kate in the form of Nick (Mohr), a stranger who Kate had the good fortune to be photographed with during a friend's wedding. Suddenly, Kate has a new job title, mom is exultant, and Sam can't take his hands off her. Things come to a head when the genial Nick starts showing up on the news after a daring Good Samaritan incident, and Kate finds herself in the position of having to create a relationship out of thin air overnight. It should come as no surprise to anyone that career-obsessed Kate and nice guy Nick eventually fall for each other, but Picture Perfect is so uninspired in its romantic tomfoolery that it's hard to care one way or another. Caron, the man behind Moonlighting and, more recently, Clean and Sober, has proven in the past that he possesses a knack for romantic foibles… but not this time out. Aniston's character is so baldly unappealing, so very dismissable, that, midway through, she begins to suck her co-stars into her less-than-interesting orbit. Bacon, Dukakis, and even Illeanna Douglas, who is usually electrifying even in the weakest of scripts, are all rendered benign and forgettable here. As for Mohr (Jerry Maguire), he plays the befuddled Nick with such a sorrowful air of gentle martyrdom that you just want to smack the guy. Granted, romantic comedies these days are apparently supposed to be light, fluffy things, but Picture Perfect takes it all one step too far, and the result is a vacuous feel-good movie that leaves you feeling nothing at all.