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Thursday, 8 July 2010

Management (2008)

Just what is it about Jennifer Aniston that accounts for her surprising popularity and results in her being cast in a succession of stooopid movies -- with the emphasis on the "ooh"? I know she has a broad fanbase from her "Friends" days and that people felt sorry for her after being dumped by Brad Pitt, but just why does this needy actress still get star treatment? This film by novice writer-director Steven Belber seems to have pleased a large number of its viewers (judging by the comments on IMDb), but it is a perfect example of the kind of 'bad' film in which she is to be found nowadays. I think we are meant to think 'What a sweet movie', when in fact one has the two main characters behaving like certifiable idiots.

She plays a travelling saleswoman for a firm that flogs the anonymous paintings for the walls of anonymous motel bedrooms. She checks in at a small motel in the Arizona boondocks, run by the likeable Margo Martindale and her surly husband Fred Ward, where their slacker son, played by a gormless, Benny Hill-faced Steve Zahn, is the night-manager. When he lays eyes on Aniston his heart goes flippity-flop and he goes up to her room with a so-called 'complimentary' bottle of undrinkable plonk, looking for the opportunity to speak with her. His opening gambit is that she has 'a nice butt' -- talk about knowing how to woo a maiden! When he is reluctant to leave and to let her to get on with her 'work' (which is actually playing solitaire on her computer), she offers to let him touch her backside as some sort of incentive to go away. He interprets this as returning his interest and looks to continue their non-existant relationship by letter or e-mail after she checks out. She does not encourage his infatuation and drives off towards the airport -- only to return minutes later to indulge in wild sex with him in the motel laundryroom. At this point I could not decide which of them was more deficient in the brains or normal behaviour department.

But it gets worse! He drops everything, gathers his feeble savings, and buys a one-way airticket to turn up at her workplace some three thousand miles away in Maryland. Although appalled by this invasion of privacy or stalking, she spends the evening with him playing soccer and handing our meal vouchers to a group of down-and-outs; she even allows him to sleep on the floor of her flat before paying for his busfare home. However, sure as God made little green apples, she checks in at his family's motel again some time later on and spends more time with the love-struck simpleton before warning him off again and returning East. After his mother's death, Zahn pawns the favourite necklace that she left him and goes back to Maryland, only to discover that Aniston has quit her job to go to live with her wealthy ex-boyfriend in Seattle. So of course the irrepressible Zahn goes off to Washington to find her and woo her back. The only trouble is that he doesn't know where to begin and has no more money; fortunately he is befriended by the son of a Chinese restaurant-owner who gets him work as a waiter and allows him to live in the shop's basement.

My apologies if I am revealing too much of the plot but it is 100% necessary to make you understand the farfetchedness of the proceedings. Having discovered where Aniston is now living with her 'ex-punk' yogurt tycoon, a bald and manic Woody Harrelson, Zahn arranges to sky-dive into her swimming pool. That's one way of arriving unannouced! While she is on some levels happy to see him again, Harrelson is violently aggressive and specialises in spouting way-out silly dialogue. Aniston reveals that she is marrying her lover at the weekend as she is pregnant -- not it seems by Zahn, so the latter does the only logical thing he can do: he becomes a Buddhist monk, where he discovers that there is more to the spiritual way of life than playing volleyball for seven hours a day.

I can't go on! Needless to say this quirky would-be relationship between the sweet but stupid Zahn and the uptight Aniston, who really only wants to run a hostel for the homeless, reaches its obligatory conclusion to satisfy the diehard romantics in the audience. As for me, I could never allow myself to sit through this drivel a second time. So, I ask again, what is it about Ms. Aniston that seduces so many people?
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