Directed by Miguel Arteta starring Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal, John C Reilly and Tim Blake Nelson.

Going nowhere - slow. That's the life Justine (Aniston) wakes and faces everyday. Thirty, with a stoner husband (Reilly) and a dead-end supermarket job, she reckons there's no point in trying to find a way out. That is until Holden (Gyllenhaal) takes up position on checkout No 3.

Good looking, mysterious and with dreams of being a successful writer, Justine finds herself drawn straight away to Holden. But the more they get to know each other, the quicker she realises that he's not the answer to her problems either. And soon her relationship with the workshy misfit has created a whole new set of problems for her, the type that wreck marriages, mess up friendships and make people wonder if they really knew what they had in the first place.

Strapped into star vehicles that either stalled or went nowhere, Aniston's movie career has made that couch in Central Perk seem very, very comfortable. 'The Good Girl' however, could be the film to change all that. It's the type of low budget character study that has become an industry in the US, and while disappointing, it does give Aniston the chance to prove that she can carry a film.

It begins promisingly, sketching out the characters orbiting Justine's humdrum world, but once she turns her attention towards Gyllenhaal's Holden, the plot begins to fray. Holden moves from intriguing to one dimensional, some scenes feel closer to sketches than part of the story and the ending is wrapped up far too neatly for the questions the film threw up.

Yet Aniston makes it all worth watching. Looking dowdy and with a frown welded to her face, she is completely credible as the woman craving change but also afraid of it. It's a role neither played for the fans or critics, but feels like an actor drawing a line under an outstanding issue.

'Friends' has given her fame but after seeing this, you'd like to think that Aniston will look back at 'The Good Girl' and feel it gave her a whole lot more.

Harry Guerin