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Picture Perfect

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Bacon and Jay Mohr
Screenplay by Arleen Sorkin & Paul Slansky
and Glenn Gordon Caron
Directed by Glenn Gordon Caron
web site: www.foxmovies.com/pictureperfect/

IN SHORT: A frothy, fizzy, could've been done on TV comedy, with the most interesting audience reactions . . .

Picture Perfect is a lightweight comedy Sabout a lady passed over for promotion because she's single, who then fakes a relationship to get said promotion, has been hiding on Rupert Murdoch's Fox network as Ned and Stacey for the last couple of years. From Murdoch's Fox Film division, the premise works much better 'cuz it only has to do one story. Focus is important. Keeping pairs of eyeballs glued to the screen is very, very important.

Which isn't hard to do with the cast assembled. Jennifer Aniston looks great. Kevin Bacon sports a fab tan. Jay Mohr is just innocent looking enough that you feel sorry for what's gonna happen to the guy. The leads are pretty. The support actors are colorful and the focus is on Jennifer Aniston at all times.

The important moment comes early on when, having been passed over for a more than deserved promotion, the boss (Kevin Dunn) tells the lovely Kate (Aniston) why. "Look at us," says he, indicating himself and Darcy (Ileana Douglas) Kate's best female friend in the house, "what do you see?" Well, Cranky saw two conservatively dressed thirtysomethings but, no, that was the wrong answer. Marriage, mortgage and commitment to the company was the right answer, all of which the young and pretty Kate had none of (except the last bit, but I'm jumping the gun).

Darcy, having found a picture of Kate and a nice looking guy named Nick (Mohr), a vague passing acquaintance from a friend's wedding, plants the story that Kate and Nick are engaged. Ipso facto all is well. Kate gets the promotion and enough of an increase in salary that she can head off on a shopping spree to Henri Bendel.

I swear, guys, the painted on absolute nothing of a green dress will cause beads of sweat to form on any breeder male in the house, regardless of how high the air conditioning is set. The dress alone is worth the price of the ticket. Unless you're not a guy . . .

OK, being unavailable makes her even more attractive to the one guy that she really wants, the tanned and terrified of commitment Sam (Bacon). You can almost see every step of the way down the script teacher road from here. Boss wants to meet guy. Guy has to be briefed and then pushed out of the picture. Yadda yadda yadda. Once the basics of the deception are set up, everything else is by the book. Like the good summer novels, it's read and enjoyed and quickly forgotten.

The candle on the cake is that director/co-scriptor Glenn Gordon Caron has a tremendous way with words, even when the situations come almost by rote. The witticisms are clever, the actors accomplished enough that it all comes off nicely; that includes Bacon's shirt, but a naked chest was not enough to assuage the clusters of single females who spewed venom on the way out of the theater.

Which brings us to the Crankfied: The pairs of dating couples, well at least the guy in front of me, was yabbering like a film student about how the film symbolized the fine line between work and personal relationships and how easy it is to get confused (yadda yadda yadda). The clusters of single females around me were going ballistic on the sucker.

For Jennifer Aniston is practically falling out of almost everything she puts on. The dresses are nothing. The shirts hang open -- needless to say it was not I who was talking cranky on the way out. The vitriol was venomous, all of it focused on Aniston's breasts, and her character's ignorance of corporate dress.

Guys, this is definitely not the place to head for if you've got a good opening line in your pocket, and not necessarily the kind of movie to head for on a date, unless your relationship is totally secure. If so, be sure that you look at your date the way you'll be looking at Jennifer Aniston during the flick, or you're gonna be sorry.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Picture Perfect, he would have paid...


...which is the $6.00 of my initial reaction -- have to keep some continuity with other ratings, 'cuz I'm a breeder and I liked it -- less the $2 it'll take to kick this sucker down to pay-per- view, where it'll be a great deal.

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