In the raucous new comedy Horrible Bosses (in theaters today) Jennifer Aniston pulls off, in addition to her clothes, some rather impressive comedic feats. Playing against-type as a sexually aggressive dentist, she not only holds her own against a top-notch boys club, but she also silences her skeptics who argue she’s nothing more than a hair-do.
Even though Aniston is one of the most famous faces in the world, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a trace of her sweetness in Horrible Bosses. (And no, not because her hair looks different.) While the 42-year-old has done some fine work in lighter fare like Marley & Me, The Break-Up, and The Switch, it’s sometimes difficult not to see Aniston, or more specifically, traces of her Friends character Rachel Green. Heck, even in the cult classic Office Space, her chain restaurant employee, Joanna, seemed a close cousin to Central Perk-dwelling Rachel.
But in Horrible Bosses, that persona is long gone. While Aniston has always been funny (she has an Emmy to prove it, and even the folks at SNL thought so), she’s downright ballsy in her role, sexually harassing her employee, played by Charlie Day. Their interaction is arguably the strongest — if not funniest — storyline in the flick.
Though critics are applauding her brave performance, it still remains to be seen whether her fans will like this version of Aniston. While she has played un-sweet before — in the 2005 thriller Derailed, she was a seductive con artist who blackmails Clive Owen — that film famously tanked at the box office. Even when her sweetness was tempered with a little darkness, in indies like The Good Girl and Friends With Money, audiences stayed away despite relatively warm reviews. Does that mean audiences prefer Aniston as they know and love her, or was she simply not given better material before?
Aniston herself admitted she had a blast letting loose in the risky role and straying from her typical work on the big screen. As she told EW, “I had such a great time doing it. It was ridiculous fun. I never get that kind of fun stuff. It was great! You do tend to get locked into parts that you play, you know what I mean? People forget that there are other parts in there.”
Do you hope she takes on more parts like this, or do you prefer she return to her rom-com roots as soon as possible? I personally vote for the former, but at this juncture in her career, Aniston is once and for all proving she’s up for a challenge.