Camp Cucamonga (1990)
Fresh-faced 21-year-old Jennifer Aniston breaks into movies after her stab at TV with series Molloy , which never got any air time.
Here, she plays a counsellor at the titular camp, where all manner of romance and high jinks go down. John Ratzenberger also stars as a former accountant who accomplishes his life-long desire to create a summer camp. Um, okay!
That’s So Rachel! As far as we know, Rachel never went to camp, but she was a popular cheerleader who never had any trouble with the boys. Hello, foreshadowing.
Jen appears in a leather jacket and multi-coloured hot pants two years after a stint on TV movie spin-off Ferris Bueller . “It’s out of the crate,” she breathes as the mysterious occupant of a nailed-up crate breaks loose to cause all kinds of mischief.
Yeah, we’re in pure B-movie horror territory, as Aniston fights Warwick Davis’ devilish Irish imp. It’s hilarious (unintentionally?), and features that immortal line: “I need me gold!”
That’s So Rachel! Nah, not really. Rachel was always a bit of a wimp – can’t imagine her putting up much of a fight against a killer midget.
Shes The One (1996)
Jen becomes put-upon wife Renee, whose Wall Street husband Francis cheats on her with the woman who once cheated on his best friend. Got it? Good. When Francis leaves Renee for his bit on the side (Cameron Diaz), he soon discovers it was a fatal mistake.
Written and directed by Edward Burns, this came just two years into Jen’s stint on Friends , and would set the course for much of her film career thereafter.
That’s So Rachel! Oh dear, just as Rachel got cheated on by Ross (“We were on a break!”), she’s the victim of more adulterous trysts here.
Picture Perfect (1997)
Kate fails to attain the promotion she wants thanks to her single status, so she makes up a boyfriend (Jay Mohr) who she’s just met at a friend’s wedding.
Before you can say “backfired plan”, Kate has to introduce her fake boyfriend to her boss. Not only that, but Kevin Bacon’s sleazy co-worker takes an interest in her. Flyaway romantic comedy fluff.
That’s So Rachel! Kate is the most Rachel of any of Aniston’s movie roles, embarking on the kind of outrageous bull-in-a-china-shop scheme that frequently featured in Friends .
The Object Of My Affection (1998)
Years before Paul Rudd was cast as Phoebe’s husband in Friends , he starred alongside Jen in this soppy but watchable romcom. He plays George, who Aniston’s Nina falls for. Only catch? He’s gay.
Now living together, Nina falls pregnant by her domineering boyfriend and begins to fantasise about marrying George and bringing up the child with him. Surely this is all going to end in tears?
That’s So Rachel! Luckily, Rachel never fell for a gay guy, but she did spend a good ten years umming and aahing over Ross.
Office Space (1999)
Cult favourite from Mike Judge based on his cartoon series Milton . Aniston appears as Joanna (oddly, Aniston’s own middle name). She’s the love interest of work-hating Peter (Ron Livingston), whom she bonds with over their shared love of TV series Kung Fu .
Perhaps the only one of Aniston’s films to reach cult phenomenon status, with its ever-quotable dialogue (“PC load letter?!”) and painfully accurate lampooning of office life.
That’s So Rachel! Another waitress role, though Joanna is fired for giving her boss the finger. Rachel never went quite that far…
Iron Giant (1999)
Jen becomes a mother in this animated delight, an adaptation of Ted Hughes’ beloved novel about a boy living in 1957 who befriends a giant humanoid robot.
Directed by Brad Bird, who would go on to make The Incredibles at Pixar, Jen plays Hogarth Hughes’ waitress mother. Cold War mentalities get cleverly picked apart, and the film offers the heart-warming mantra: "You are who you choose to be."
That’s So Rachel! Sheesh, Jen just can’t escape those waitress roles, even if they’re animated! At least this one didn't require her to physically wear an apron.
Rock Star (2001)
Originally entitled Metal God , Rock Star follows Mark Wahlberg’s music-inclined stage-hogger on his mission to become the lead singer of a band he idolises. Aniston plays his groupie girlfriend.
Did Jen rock out as research for the role? “I can't say I joined that craziness,” she says. “I didn't do the rock scene very much. It kinda scares me, to tell you truthfully!” Bless.
That’s So Rachel! Would Rachel have been a rock chick if she’d been of age in the ‘80s? Something tells us there was a groupie hiding inside her somewhere...
The Good Girl (2002)
Aniston drops the romcom routine for a sparse indie tale that casts her as bored supermarket worker Justine Last. Neglected by her pot-smoking husband (John C. Reilly), she embarks on a torrid affair with young check-out boy Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Barely cracking a smile throughout, Jen lays out a measured performance that is a real departure from anything she’s ever done before. It’s also Brad Pitt’s favourite…
That’s So Rachel! Not a sniff of Rachel here, Justine existing in a world far away from the glamorous, Ralph Lauren life that Rachel leads.
Bruce Almighty (2003)
“She's tremendous,” says Jim Carrey of his leading lady. He plays Bruce, who's given all of God's power to see if he can do better. Beau Grace bears the brunt, as Bruce uses his powers first to make her boobs bigger...
“We worked well together because Jennifer is a completely different type of person than me,” says Carrey. “She's the type of person that can sit there and allow things to come to her. I seek them out and destroy them. She's very centred.”
That’s So Rachel! Rachel would probably empathise with Grace putting up with a rubber-faced fool.
Along Came Polly (2004)
Jen’s role as a ferret-owning dreamer landed her an article in Ferret Magazine . “I didn't even know there was a Ferret Magazine ! That is very exciting,” she laughs. “You know, I feel sad for the ferret because I wasn't a big fan of the ferret. It's not the warmest or cuddliest.”
Starring opposite Frat Packer Ben Stiller, Jen plays the titular Polly, the ex-schoolmate of Stiller’s miserable married Reuben. Could she be just the injection of excitement and chaos his life so sorely needs?
That’s So Rachel! Rachel was never this kooky: she's venturing into Phoebe territory here.
“I think you’re always looking for good work,” muses Jen. “You know dramatic, comedic whatever it is… [Derailed] came along at a perfect time.” Jen’s married Lucinda throws down with the equally-hitched Charlie (Clive Owen) and finds herself dragged into a blackmail plot.
“She’s a normal woman in a very mundane phase in her life. She meets this very intriguing man on the train and succumbs to a temptation,” says Jen.
That’s So Rachel! Who is this unsmiling person we see before us? In her first post- Friends role, Aniston’s clearly attempting to shake things up.
Friends With Money (2006)
Hard-up Olivia has zero dollars to her name and scrapes by working as a maid. “I had actually written the part for someone older,” says writer-director Nicole Holofcener. “But Jennifer had said to me: ‘I’d love to work with you, let’s find the right thing.’
“So I began to think of her. Among the questions I asked myself were ‘is she too young, or too famous’? But then I thought she’d be great. I just felt she could be subtle and funny at the same time.”
That’s So Rachel! Would Rachel really have borrowed somebody else's vibrator while cleaning? We think not.
The Break-Up (2006)
Jen’s life-echoing movie roles get into full swing here, as she plays one half of a doomed couple just after she and Brad Pitt divorced. From now on, women's mags everywhere will brand her the last single woman, and hold her up as a role model for single women everywhere.
“I’ve had nothing but positive comments from women and men truthfully,” Jen said at the time. “It’s not just about pointing out how men have their downfalls because I think women have their downfalls as well.”
That’s So Rachel! More bitter and twisted, perhaps, but definitely Ross-Rachel on-off echoes.
“With reading romantic comedy after romantic comedy, it was very refreshing to read about these two flawed, odd birds that find each other,” Jen says. “Yeah, it was just really special. She makes some very strange choices.”
Strange indeed. Another indie adventure for Aniston, who seems to plum for one risky low-budget flick for every three glossy romcoms she heads up. In Management , she’s Sue, who strikes up a quirky relationship with Steve Zahn’s Mike.
That’s So Rachel! More off-on shenanigans. Time to shake up the routine again, huh Jen?
Marley & Me (2008)
Jen teams up with Owen Wilson for an adap of John Grogan’s book. Their married couple learns how to be a family thanks to their golden retriever.
“It wasn't the girl trying to get the guy, or the chase and then you end the movie where they ride off into the sunset,” Jen says of the script. “This is sort of the sequel to that. You know, where you get to see the ins and outs of a relationship, and see them over fifteen years.”
That’s So Rachel! The nearest Rachel ever got to owning a pet was the hideous furless cat that hissed her name and looked like a chicken ready for the oven…
Hes Just Not That Into You (2009)
Another book adaptation, and Jen’s attraction to big romcoms continues apace. She’s just one of many A-listers who lined up for this adap.
Jen’s tips for a healthy relationship? “Trust is a really hard thing to gain - and give. I think people get so afraid to be themselves, of not being accepted by the other person, like, 'If I tell the truth, that person's gonna run.' Trusting is something I work on.”
That’s So Rachel! We’re sure Rachel must have read this book off-screen at some point, considering her revolving door of male suitors.
Love Happens (2009)
Is there life after death? Jen clearly hopes so, as her florist bumps into Aaron Eckhart’s recently widowed author. Quickly they strike up a love affair, but can love just… happen?
“I was shocked at how hard I cried at the end of it,” Jen reveals. “It’s beyond moving.” Critics disagreed, branding the movie dull and awful, despite its attempts to move away from straight-up romcom by wading into some darker dramatic themes.
That’s So Rachel! We’re still in love interest terrain, dear. Give us another indie already!
The Bounty Hunter (2010)
“I love the romance, the suspense, the action of it all,” says Jen. “The Midnight Run element of it. I’ve not really done action so much.”
Alright, this pair-up with Gerard Butler does strain for Midnight Run -style action comedy, but eventually it becomes a pale imitation. There’s no denying the lead duo’s star wattage, it’s just a shame the script failed to shine as brightly.
That’s So Rachel! The closest Rachel ever got to an action scenario was that episode where she and Phoebe are looking in the basement for Marcel, with a glorious slow-mo dive-save courtesy of Lisa Kudrow.
The Switch (2010)
“She put you in the friend zone,” Jeff Golblum warns Jason Bateman. Yeah, Bateman’s neurotic loner Wally used to date his buddy Kassie (Aniston) before it all went a bit wrong and they settled for a close friendship.
Except now Kassie is worried about her biological clock, and has decided to get artificially inseminated. One messy sperm mix-up later, and Kassie’s pregnant with Wally’s son…
That’s So Rachel! The hurricane-proof-haired one did get pregnant in Friends , and she even did it with (non-spoiler alert!) sometime-best-bud Ross. Rinse and repeat, eh Jen?
Just Go With It (2011)
Trotting out another rom-com does seem a tired charade by now, and a remake of an adaptation with Adam Sandler may not have been the best way to go.
Cruising up to almost quarter of a billion at the box-office Aniston proved her, now seemingly unshakeable, appeal yet again. Although the film was savaged by the critics, teaming up with Sandler was a wise business move.
That’s So Rachel! It's like she's helping out her former fiance Doctor Bobby pick up women after divorcing Ross two bambinos later. We're not so sure Ms Green would find herself wrapped up in this kind of hi-jinx.
Horrible Bosses (2011)
A very different role for Jen, and a welcome character shift. Dentist Dr Julia Harris is a sexual predator and blackmailer, and she looks incredible eating a popsicle, a banana and a hot dog (in that order!) in just her underwear.
Although some people seemed more consumed by her switch to dark hair. “I’m the one who insisted on the dark hair,” Aniston says. “I was doing a movie right before this and one after that had me looking more like me, and I knew this character had to be different.”
That’s So Rachel! Rachel was never this deviant, but she could do professional and sexy. No underwear in The One Where No One Is Ready sticks in the mind...