Kate (Jennifer Aniston) is a career-driven woman desperate to move up the ladder in her marketing firm. When she finds out her boss is more likely to promote employees who are married, she’s convinced by her best friend to use a photo of an acquaintance named Nick (Jay Mohr) and claim he’s her fiance. When Nick becomes famous due to saving a little girl in a fire, Kate’s boss wants to meet him so Kate has to track the man down and bribe him into being her fiance until they can stage a proper break-up.
I tend to love the fake dating trope. If it’s done correctly, it can be enjoyable and romantic, deception and silliness aside. Unfortunately, I found Picture Perfect to be a bit bland. With a better script, it might have been an entertaining romantic comedy while touching on the ridiculously outdated notion that women need to be wives and mothers in order to show their value. Instead, it chugs along aimlessly with a contrived plot and two leads lacking any real heat together.
Picture Perfect was one of Jennifer Aniston’s first films after Friends blew up in the ’90s. It’s evident in the movie that she had a lot of potential star power. She successfully goes toe to toe with seasoned vets like Kevin Bacon and has a really likable screen presence which continues to this day. I think Aniston is what made this movie tolerable, especially her scenes with Bacon’s character Sam, a cad and co-worker who pursues Kate after discovering she’s engaged. I also loved the moments with Olympia Dukakis, who plays Kate’s mother. But I think I would enjoy Dukakis in just about anything.
In my opinion, the most important part of a romantic comedy is the romance. If the love story is captivating enough, then I am usually forgiving of the lack of comedic value. Kate and Nick’s romance could have really made this movie work if there had been any chemistry between Jennifer Aniston and Jay Mohr. I know the two didn’t get along much on set, but I don’t think real-life conflict is a true indicator of how appealing a couple will be on screen. Mohr and Aniston just didn’t have any connection that I could see, which made the entire movie feel stale. I could see Sam’s jerkish behavior coming a mile away but I thought Aniston and Bacon together were way more interesting.
Because of that, I found Picture Perfect to be a rather mediocre rom-com. Aniston hasn’t had a flawless career, but there are definitely better rom-coms on her resume to check out. Skip this one.