The best adjective to describe Picture Perfect is bland. There’s not much here to actively dislike, but not much to like, either
Jennifer Aniston stars as Kate Mosley, an independent ad exec. A little too independent. She’s denied raises and job opportunities because her boss worries that there’s nothing to tie her to his company. In addition, the man she pines for, Sam Mayfair (Kevin Bacon), ignores her because she’s too nice, not his type.
Her problems are solved when her boss spots a picture of her in the lap of a stranger (it’s a long story…), and is led to believe, with no discouragement from Kate, that the two are engaged to be married. Soon, promotions and big accounts are heading her way, her nagging mother (Olympia Dukakis) is temporarily satisfied, and Sam, thinking she’s unavailable, starts to notice her.
However, the lie starts to unravel when her boss insists he meet her fiance for dinner. Panicked, Kate hunts down the stranger, Nick (Jay Mohr), a wedding photographer in Boston. She offers to pay him to portray her fiance for one night, during which the two will have a noisy fight and break up. Smitten, he accepts, but doesn’t really want to break up.
There’s not much to like in Picture Perfect. Jennifer Aniston, in her first starring role, comes across as whiny, mean and cruel. Kevin Bacon’s bad-boy character seems to merely consist of postures and smirks. Olympia Dukakis overacts, but at least it seems to be written into the role. The thing that saves Picture Perfect from being a complete disaster is Jay Mohr. His nice-guy character is really the only likable character in the whole film.
The romance in the film is a bit one sided. Aside from pure physical attraction, there’s not much reason for Nick to like Kate. He deserves better. Kate, on the other hand, deserves the shallow Sam.
There aren’t many surprises in the film, as the script seems to broadcast its every move. Without the element of surprise, there’s not much humor either. Most jokes are simply too obvious to be funny, others just fall flat.
Julia Roberts has shown earlier this summer, in My Best Friend’s Wedding, that a character can do some unsympathetic things, yet still be likeable. Well, Jennifer Aniston is no Julia Roberts. The result is a romantic comedy without much romance or comedy.