Ever since she made her name on Friends, arguably the most popular sitcom of the ‘90s and early ‘00s, Jennifer Aniston has been one of the biggest stars in the world. While her five co-stars from Friends never managed to break away from their TV roles, Aniston has been regularly starring in big Hollywood movies for years. She started out making romantic comedies, but she’s since expanded into more dramatic territory, as well as taking more risks with darker, edgier, raunchier comedies than she used to be in.
10 She’s the One (61%)
Edward Burns’ romantic comedy She’s the One might have been named after the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name, but its score was actually composed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Jennifer Aniston starred in the film when she was just starting out, and it includes an early-career turn from Cameron Diaz, too. They both provide terrific performances in their roles, but unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Maxine Bahns, who was only cast because she was dating the director at the time. If it weren’t for Bahns letting the film down, it would’ve been a lot better.
9 Marley & Me (62%)
One of the saddest movies in recent memory, Marley & Me stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston as a couple who buy a dog. The movie chronicles 14 years of the dog’s life, which necessitated 22 yellow Labradors to be used over the course of filming. It was a true story, adapted from a memoir by John Grogan, the journalist that Wilson plays in the movie, about his family dog Marley.
When it was released in the holiday season of 2008, Marley & Me set the record for the biggest Christmas Day box office haul of all time, so it clearly struck a chord with audiences.
8 Storks (66%)
This delightful animated romp was based on the white lie that parents tell their kids about where babies come from. Aside from Jennifer Aniston, the voice cast includes some pretty big names: Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Danny Trejo, Ty Burrell – the film even got Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele back together (Key played a wolf named Alpha and Peele played Alpha’s top advisor, Beta). It’s about a boy who wants to have a brother, because all of his friends have brothers and he feels left out. Aniston plays the boy’s workaholic mother, who’s too interested in work to give him a brother.
7 Life of Crime (67%)
Although it has a darkly comic bent, Life of Crime is a little different than the typical movies we’ve come to expect from Jennifer Aniston. Life of Crime was based on the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch, which like most of Leonard’s books, was set in Detroit. The book revisited a number of characters that Leonard introduced in Rum Punch, which was previously adapted for the screen by Quentin Tarantino as Jackie Brown. Life of Crime doesn’t have the staying power of Jackie Brown and it almost runs out of steam before the credits roll, but Aniston keeps it chugging along and it remains a fun crime caper.
6 Horrible Bosses (69%)
Seth Gordon directed this dark comedy inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train in which three disgruntled employees – played by Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day – plot to kill each other’s bosses. Bateman’s boss is a self-obsessed, power-hungry dictator played by Kevin Spacey, Sudeikis’ boss is a heartless drug addict played by Colin Farrell, and Day’s boss is a nymphomaniac who constantly sexually harasses him played by Jennifer Aniston. She spends the movie trying to get Day’s happily engaged character to sleep with her, even blackmailing him. It’s rare that a comedy with a sense of humor this dark becomes such a box office hit.
5 Friends with Money (72%)
Nicole Holofcener is one of the few writer-directors working today who doesn’t fall into Hollywood conventions and actually tells stories about real people with real problems. Her film Friends with Money, for example, is simply a movie about what happens to a group of friends when some of them start making a lot more money than the others. It stars a one-of-a-kind quartet in the lead roles: Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Keener, Joan Cusack, and Frances McDormand. Holofcener wrote a script filled with insightful dialogue and powerful scenes, and then her cast came in and knocked it out of the park.
4 Office Space (80%)
This incisive cult classic critique on corporate culture should’ve been a much bigger hit than it was. It’s about a bored office drone, played by Ron Livingston, who gets sick of doing the same thing every day, getting bossed around, and filling his days with nonsense like TPS reports, so one day, he just decides to not go into work. Jennifer Aniston played Joanna, the love interest, in one of the early film roles that helped her to secure her post-Friends acting career. Written and directed by Mike Judge, drawing on his own experiences in the corporate world, Office Space celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.
3 The Good Girl (82%)
In the deliciously dark comedy The Good Girl, Jennifer Aniston plays a depressed thirtysomething going through the motions alongside John C. Reilly as her pothead husband and Jake Gyllenhaal as a shy introvert who has named himself after The Catcher in the Rye’s protagonist Holden Caulfield. Youth in Revolt director Miguel Arteta helmed the project, while the script was written by Mike White, the creator of HBO’s woefully underrated Laura Dern-starring dramedy series Enlightened. The Good Girl has a satirical edge, but it’s also a very emotional film, especially thanks to incredible performances from Aniston and Gyllenhaal in the lead roles.
2 Dumplin’ (85%)
Most Netflix original movies get slated by critics, but Dumplin’ was one of the rare exceptions. It’s a coming-of-age comedy set on the child beauty pageant scene. Jennifer Aniston stars as a Southern former beauty queen who is now a judge at a pageant that she’s pushing her plus-size daughter to enter.
Aniston relishes the role of a pageant mom, leaning into the absurdity to deliver a hilarious performance. The actress also acted as a co-producer on the film, which was adapted from the young-adult novel of the same name by Julie Murphy (who has a cameo appearance in the movie).
1 The Iron Giant (96%)
Long before he made Ratatouille, the two Incredibles movies, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Brad Bird moved audiences with his feature directorial debut, The Iron Giant. While it wasn’t a box office success upon release in 1999, it has gone on to become a cult classic. It’s a classic “boy and his dog” story, with a giant robot instead of a dog. Jennifer Aniston plays the boy’s mother, but it’s Vin Diesel in the role of the titular ‘bot that steals the show. He brought the same humanity to the Giant that he would later bring to the Groot character in the MCU.