Will Everyone Just Lay Off Jennifer Aniston?

Though The Switch bombed at the box office, Aniston may be able to save face when she guest stars on Cougar Town

If you're up on your entertainment news, then you know that a "bomb" exploded last weekend -- in the form of the Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy, The Switch. It opened to only $8 million, not even breaking into the top five at the box office (and well behind The Expendables, Vampires Suck and Eat Pray Love).

Almost immediately, TV pundits and assorted bloggers started in with their theories as to why.

From Gather.com: Did The Switch Bomb Because of Jennifer Aniston's Retard Comment? (She called herself one during an interview on Live with Regis and Kelly.)

From LATimes.com: Jennifer Aniston: Exactly Why Is She a Movie Star? (i.e. the Brad/Angelina/Jen triangle made her extra famous)

From OrlandoSentinel.com: The Switch -- Why Aniston's Picture Bombed (because people care more about her celebrity life than her acting)

Among the dozens more articles like these, lots of TV journalists have reached what's more or less the same conclusion about Aniston. You can sum it up in this not-so-subtle quote from Perez Hilton: "She is just not a film star!"

This is a handy explanation, especially on the heels of some other entertainment news that broke yesterday: Aniston is slated to guest star in the season premiere of her pal Courteney Cox's TV show, Cougar Town (ABC, September 22, 9 p.m. ET). “She's going to play Courteney’s shrink named Bonnie,” Cougar Town executive producer Bill Lawrence told EW.com. “Kind of a get-too-involved-in-her-life-type of therapist."

In the wake of her latest big screen flop, this little bit of TV news has lots of critics suggesting a career U-turn. She's not cut out for movies, they're saying. Just look at the string of dogs she's released: This spring's 'The Bounty Hunter,' and last year's 'Love Happens' and 'He's Just Not That Into You.' Meanwhile, her latest TV stint -- a guest part on a 2008 episode of 30 Rock -- earned her an Emmy nod. Go back to TV, Jen, they say. It's where you belong.

But here's another angle: Maybe Aniston's problem is simply... sub-par scripts. An actress is only as winning as the material she's selling. She's earned high marks in some movies, and not surprisingly, they're the all-around well-written ones -- like 1999's Office Space and 2006's Friends With Money.

True, a really superior actor can elevate less-than-stellar material. (Robert Downey Jr. in 2009's Sherlock Holmes comes to mind.) But for the most part, a lame, formulaic rom-com won't be less lame just because Aniston happens to be playing the exasperated cutie in the lead. Lame script? Lame flick.

Chances are, Aniston will shine in the Cougar Town guest spot -- just like she shined on 30 Rock. It's not just because she's an adept comedienne. It's also because Cougar Town, like 30 Rock, has got a deep bench of quality comedy writers. At some point, she'll connect with the right movie script, too. And when she does, all the naysayers will write, "I knew she had it in her!"

Do you think Jennifer Aniston deserves the blame for her movie flops? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
- Jason Bateman: I Got Paid Too Much to Work with Jennifer Aniston
- Jennifer Aniston in Hot Water for Saying "Retard" on TV
- VIDEO: Jennifer Aniston: I Won't Be a Pushover as a Mom

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