Growing up in the late ’90s meant I learned who Jennifer Aniston was before I learned to read.
So, since I love a theme, and rom-coms are always a crowd-pleaser, I decided to watch every single one of her rom-coms and rank them. After thoroughly analyzing each movie for plot, performance, and costuming — here are all 17 rom-coms starring Jennifer Aniston, ranked.
17. The Bounty Hunter
I tried to like The Bounty Hunter, but I just could not get into it. I actually think Jen was pretty funny in this movie, but even her excellent line delivery and comedic timing couldn’t save it. Maybe with some better writing and a different vision for the film, it would be ranked higher on my list, but Gerard Butler took his role as the scorned ex a little too seriously and was so unlikeable that it made it hard to root for their relationship. I’ve never been a fan of a macho man whose entire character arc is learning to find their feelings, and 2010 is too late to be making rom-coms where a strong and capable woman is suddenly smitten for a man who has done nothing but bully and try to control her.
16. Along Came Polly
Overall, I didn’t care for this movie. While I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jennifer play the salsa-loving, travel-obsessed, restless Polly, there just wasn’t enough meat to this movie. No character was particularly likable, and the idea that a fun, adventure-loving woman should choose a boring man that she has almost nothing in common with just because he’s the “safe” option is annoying to me. And there wasn’t even enough comedy to make up for the lack of plot.
15. Love Happens
I almost thought about tossing this one from the list entirely, because it is in no way a rom-com. It’s not even a comedy. It’s more like a romantic drama with a few shining lines of reprieve from the constant themes of death and loss. Overall, it’s quite cheesy, but don’t let the Hallmark-like intro deter you from the emotionally profound message at the end of this film. Sadly, Jen’s character was barely fleshed out, because she’s really only there as a love interest to further the plot of the grieving man.
14. We’re the Millers
Although problematic at times, this movie was surprisingly funny. And I don’t mean slapstick humor, I mean genuine comedic dialogue and cohesive running jokes. I consider this more of a comedy than a rom-com, but the enemies-to-lovers trope between Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston actually worked quite well for the overall theme of this movie. However, it’s possible that without the stellar casting, it wouldn’t have been as great. I also thoroughly appreciated seeing Jennifer completely break out of her comfort zone to play a broke, headstrong stripper.
13. She’s the One
There’s so much to unpack with this movie’s overall message that it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, I went into it thinking Jennifer was going to be a main character based on the misleading cover photo, but she was not. Instead, she’s the hilariously charming, heartbroken wife of one of the lead brothers. Although she probably only had about 30 minutes of screen time, her New York accent and haughty rants were some of the best parts of the movie. I also really liked that this movie was mostly unpredictable, and dealt with love and loss at different stages of life. Be warned, this is one of those dialogue-heavy, minimal action films — if that’s your cup of tea.
It’s not that I didn’t like this movie, I just…wasn’t super into it. It was refreshing to see Jennifer play a competitive, uptight, workaholic, but the slow pacing and unbelievable romance made it hard to get behind the story. Even with a stacked cast, it still fell slightly flat. I will say, the movie was made infinitely better by the appearance of Al (James Hiroyuki Liao), Mike’s BFF that helped him get a job at his family’s restaurant, but if I hadn’t been forced to watch this, I probably wouldn’t have made it all the way through.
11. The Break-Up
I feel like somehow we were all tricked into believing this movie is great, when it’s actually quite dull. Yes, the fights feel very realistic, and I do think it’s an accurate portrayal of a messy breakup, but it’s just not a super exciting movie. I don’t like heteronormative rom-coms where the man acts like a complete ass and then we are still expected to root for him. The only saving grace plot-wise is that Jennifer and Vince Vaughn’s characters don’t end up together in the end (although in the last five minutes, there’s some very lingering eye contact that suggests a possible relationship do-over in the future).
10. Murder Mystery
I have never been an Adam Sandler fan, but I have to say, it was much more enjoyable to see him play a witty and loving husband, as opposed to his usual role of perverted douche. He and Jennifer starring opposite each other as a middle-aged mystery-obsessed couple was actually super cute. This movie very much felt like just a fun, Friday night comedy, and the romantic aspect was an added bonus.
9. Friends with Money
Although not exactly in the same caliber, this movie very much felt to me like one the Academy would have eaten up during awards season. A film where nothing really happens, but emotions run high, and lots of conversations are had — that’s the Academy’s bread and butter. Playing the role of the burnt-out, depressed Olivia — this one is another great example to showcase Jen’s range. It’s an early testament to the fact that Jennifer Aniston can do drama well, and she’s good at roles with deeper material. Her character was very quiet and had minimal dialogue, so she was forced to portray emotions primarily through body language. From the pain in her eyes to the hunch of her shoulders — I completely forgot I was watching Jennifer Aniston in a movie, and felt totally engrossed by her character’s sad (but relatable) storyline. My only real complaint is that this movie ended too abruptly. It could have benefited greatly from another 30 or so minutes with maybe one climactic scene or a lengthy monologue.
Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston should be in every rom-com together. In fact, just feature them as co-stars in more movies altogether. Their chemistry is magnetic, and they only enhance each other’s comedy. While this movie is not at all structured like a typical rom-com, it’s super enjoyable to watch. It is a bit chaotic at times, and occasionally felt more like an SNL skit than a feature length film, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy it regardless,
7. Just Go with It
Okay, so I know I had the whole speech earlier about how I don’t usually care for Adam Sandler, but there’s no denying that he and Jennifer do witty banter well. I could do without Adam Sandler’s typical misogynistic type jokes that tend to accompany his humor in every film, but this movie was so well paced and engaging that it was hard to look away. I also love any movie that has solid running jokes, and there were a couple in this movie that made me laugh. Plus, between Nicole Kidman’s minor role as Devlin, and the two kids that play Jen’s kids, there was just enough chaos in this film to make it work.
6. Mother’s Day
Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston are back starring opposite each other once again. Like all of these multiple storyline rom-coms (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve), you get exactly what you expect. This is just an overall feel-good film, and unlike We’re the Millers, this movie lets us see the softer, sweeter side of Jason and Jen’s chemistry.
5. He’s Just Not That Into You
Even though there are a billion main characters in this movie, I do think Jen and Ben Affleck’s relationship was the best of everyone. Since the screen-time was so divided between so many different plots, this movie isn’t a stand-out to me in terms of Jen’s acting abilities, but that’s not to say she didn’t do well with what she was given. Overall, this movie is a mid-2000s staple and still holds up today as a solidly charming film.
4. Rumor Has It
This movie is genuinely chaotic, and I loved every minute of it. I always say my favorite Jennifer Aniston roles are ones where she’s completely unhinged (i.e. The Morning Show) and able to show off her skills as a comedian — and sleeping with a man who 12 minutes prior you assumed was your father, has to take the cake. Not only was she incredibly charming as usual, but I enjoy a plot where I genuinely can’t figure out the ending. Also, the chemistry between Jen and Shirley MacLaine, who played her grandmother, was the best part of the movie.
3. The Switch
I was surprised by how much I loved this movie. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston really brought their A-game with this one, and their chemistry was palpable. Yes, it is a typical friends to lovers trope, but it was so beautifully executed that I found myself excited for the end result. It was sweet, charming, and poignant, and Thomas Robinson as 6-year-old Sebastian was perhaps the cutest kid I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen Jen play a mom in millions of movies before, but something about her vulnerability and sincerity with this role really touched me.
2. The Object of My Affection
I feel that I would be remiss not to mention that this movie would certainly not hold up in 2022, because of the constant obsession with Paul Rudd’s character being gay. But don’t let that deter you from one of the most beautiful stories of unrequited love I’ve ever seen in a rom-com. The initial plot build-up was a bit off to me, because of how quickly Paul and Jen’s characters went from strangers to “best friends,” but once the movie really got going, I was fully invested. Jen was so believable in the role of Nina, and together with Paul it was easy to forget they weren’t actually star-crossed lovers. I teared up at her end monologue where she cries and asks him what he wants, because it was so beautiful and painfully raw.
1. Picture Perfect
Excellent, delightful — it’s picture perfect. If you’re scorning me right now for listing this movie as number one, hear me out. There are obvious formulas to every rom-com, but this one does an excellent job at managing to delight and surprise, even within its predictability. I love a heteronormative rom-com that actually makes the man sweet and lovable, and Jay Mohr’s portrayal of Nick was exactly that. And while Jennifer’s character is not that far, personality-wise, from Rachel on Friends, she was so endearing as a scrambled, career-driven 28-year-old. One thing about Jennifer Aniston, she has a way of playing relatable so charmingly well that you can’t help but root for her.
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