Jennifer Aniston appeared on the SmartLess podcast this morning, which is hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. I bring this up mostly because it’s rare to hear a long-form interview from Jennifer Aniston, although this one itself was with friends (close friends, by the sounds of it), who obviously didn’t ask her a lot of probing, personal questions.
As I wrote in my review, the SmartLess podcast largely entails Arnett, Bateman, and Hayes busting each other’s balls, and Aniston was more than happy to join in, so the podcast provided an interesting glimpse into what Aniston is like around close pals — funny, kind, loves to entertain at her home and regale folks with stories.
It was a fascinating listen, although Arnett, Bateman, and Hayes went to lengths talking about how kind and generous she is in person — so “down to Earth” — but also very organized and very Type-A (the latter of which I have also heard about her). One question they did ask that merited a briefly revealing response, however, was if she ever thought about quitting acting. She said that, yes, a couple of years ago she worked on a project that was a nightmare and that it almost prompted her to quit.
She said that the project was an “unprepared one,” that it “sucked the life out of her,” and that she recalled thinking, after that project, “I don’t know if this is what interests me anymore.”
I immediately hit IMDb to try to determine the project. She said it came prior to The Morning Show, and within the last two years. Technically, that would mean it was either Adam Sandler’s Murder Mystery or the Netflix film, Dumplin’. On the same podcast, however, she spoke about how much she loves working with Adam Sandler and was doing another film with him soon that she was looking forward to, so I’m going to rule out Murder Mystery. I don’t think it’d be Dumplin’, either, because it was well-received, I’ve also never heard anything but lovely things about its director, Anne Fletcher, who was also the choreographer on Aniston’s Along Came Polly. Dumplin’ also co-starred Dolly Parton, and I refuse to believe that anyone had a nightmare of a time working on a film with Dolly Parton (I also listened to a podcast with Fletcher, where she spoke about how well Aniston and her co-star, Danielle Macdonald, got along).
It’s the COVID era, and no one knows what time is anymore, so I’m going to go ahead and expand the search criteria by going back a couple more years, which would make three other projects a possibility: Office Christmas Party, The Yellow Birds, and Mother’s Day. I’m tossing out The Yellow Birds because Aniston had a small supporting role in it, and I’m also ruling out Office Christmas Party, because Aniston starred in that with Jason Bateman, so she wouldn’t shit-talk it in front of him. Also, honestly, while that movie wasn’t that great, it looks like it would have been a blast to shoot, if only because she got to hang with Bateman and Kate McKinnon.
That leaves … Mother’s Day. Eight percent on Rotten Tomatoes. I barely remember anything about it, except how terrible it was. According to my review, however, I said it was much worse than you think it might be, and added, “It’s not something you take grandma out of the nursing home to see for a Sunday afternoon diversion on Mother’s Day because your sweet, doddering Nana will fucking cut you if you make her put in her teeth to go see this.” The film also won multiple Golden Rasberry Awards. It’s also a movie that Aniston might not be concerned about trashing, since its director — Garry Marshall (RIP) — passed away soon after the film was released.
Verdict: Mother’s Day