Picture Perfect

Jennifer Aniston is a friend in need of a movie script that will really let her talent blossom. Picture Perfect is too TV-ish and timid a romantic farce to do the trick. So Aniston cleverly works around it. The part of Kate, a New York ad exec whose mom (Olympia Dukakis) and boss (Kevin Dunn) nag her to get married, is Aniston's first star spot after acclaimed supporting roles in She's the One and 'Til There Was You. She looks good front and center.

Aniston has a knack for skilled underplaying. Watch Kate dump a date who won't wear a condom with an eloquent arch of her eyebrow. The hot look that Kate shoots her co-worker Sam (Kevin Bacon), who won't date single women — too many strings — turns to quiet desperation when she attends her best friend's wedding and the bride simply hands her the bouquet. Aniston doesn't need dialogue to catch Kate's quicksilver moods. It's the sitcom lines, at the service of a contrived plot, that choke her.

Get this: A photo of Kate with bestman Nick (the appealing Jay Mohr, in a deft about-face from his sleazy agent in Jerry Maguire) is taken at the wedding. Kate's office pal Darcy (a zingy Illeana Douglas) tells the boss that Nick is Kate's fiance. Kate asks Nick to help her lie. She gets a promotion, sex with Sam and a lesson in love from Nick, who . . . oh, never mind. Glenn Gordon Caron, of Moonlighting, directs as if he had uncorked champagne instead of flat soda. He's kidding himself. Aniston is not. She's the real thing in comic fizz.