Seeking solace from the BBC’s MournHub streaming service, my ongoing investigations into le cinema du Jennifer Aniston grind to a temporary halt with Picture Perfect, a frustratingly cute rom-com which feels like it was made in a different, less techno-savvy era. The story of a junior advertising executive in NYC who is working on a campaign to sell mustard, it’s one of the weaker Aniston vehicles, and despite a over-qualified supporting cast, it’s hardly up there with Cake or The Good Girl in the pantheon on classic Aniston product.
How’s this for a dated pitch? Aniston plays Kate, a singleton who wants to make it big but has hit a glass ceiling in her male-dominated workplace. Using one of these new fangled disposable cameras, she grabs a snap of her with Boston videographer Nick (Jay Mohr), and uses this as a means to persuade her workmates that she is in a relationship. Why does this work to her advantage? Because the men in Kate’s workplace, namely studly long-hair Sam Mayfair (Kevin Bacon) understand that a girl with an out of town boyfriend is easy meat, and soon Kate finds herself sleeping with her boss, so that’s progress, right?
Kate might be better to make a Molotov cocktail of glitter and molten excrement and detonate it in the boardroom of her ad agency, but Picture Perfect is intent on playing by the rules, even if they reflect that it’s a man’s man’s world. Nick comes to town, and plays along with Kate’s game, but ends up falling for her even though he’s just as much of a twit as Sam Mayfair; are these really the only two men in New York that Kate has to choose from? Why does she have to choose at all?
Unfortunately these are the only two men on offer, and Glenn Gordon Caron’s film doesn’t have any of the spark that he previously brought to the sparring between Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting. Aniston went on to far better things, but Picture Perfect doesn’t capture much of the agency that’s kept the star at the top for the last 25 years. Co-stars like Illeana Douglas and Olympia Dukakis suggest that Picture Perfect should have a strong female perspective, but the attempted portrayal of a independent career woman is hampered by the film portraying her as the irrational creature as might be imagined.