The Evolution Of Jennifer Aniston

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.

Leprechaun (1993)

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.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.