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Jennifer Aniston: hair 10, box office 3

By A. James Memmott

August 25, 2010 at 9:25am

When it comes to critics, Jennifer Aniston is in need of friends.

The dismal performance of Aniston’s latest movie, The Switch, has several analysts writing off her career, saying, in effect, that the former Friends star is not earning her mega-millions paychecks.

The Switch grossed just $8.1 million over the weekend, finishing in eighth place, a notch below the family-friendly Nanny McPhee Returns.

This may only mean that the public isn’t ready for a light comedy about sperm donation. Or it may be more evidence, as Guy Adams suggests in The Independent, that the curse of Friends still has force.

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston

The highly successful situation comedy ended its 10-season run in 1994, leaving cast members to try new projects, many of which didn’t pan out.

Aniston has fared the best, having made 21 movies since Friends ended.

But only three of these films grossed over $100 million. And the financial success of those movies reflected the presence of a strong male or canine co-star - Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty, Vince Vaughn in The Break-Up, a Labrador retriever in Marley & Me.

Since Marley & Me (2008), Aniston has had two films, He’s Just Not That Into You and The Bounty Hunter, that did reasonably well and three films, Management, Love Happens and now The Switch that flopped.

This suggests, to some, that Aniston, despite her constant appearance in movie and celebrity magazines, is no longer the A-list star she was in the Friends decade.

However, Bill Simmons of ESPN.com challenged this assumption in his Aug. 20 column.

In Simmons’ opinion, eight of Aniston’s last 11 movies have been “clunkers.”

However, that doesn’t matter, he suggests, because Aniston’s own story remains compelling, especially the chapter in which she lost Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie.

“Maybe it was the worst thing that ever happened to her personally, but professionally? Godsend,” Simmons speculates.

“She became America’s adorable little victim for seven years until (Sandra) Bullock finally pushed her aside.”

Simmons - a man with no shortage of theories - concludes that Aniston will remain on the A-list despite her bad movies as long as she remains unmarried and continues to date “co-stars, bad-boy musicians and people with lousy hair.”

Aniston’s next film will be Just Go With It with Adam Sandler. She’ll also return to television, playing a therapist in this season’s premiere of Cougar Town, a sitcom starring Courtney Cox, who also starred in Friends.

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