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Jennifer Aniston may get top billing in this romantic comedy, but MANAGEMENT belongs to Steve Zahn. The often goofy, always likable actor plays Mike Cranshaw, a man with little ambition but lots of heart who works at his parents' motel in small-town Arizona. When paint-saleswoman Sue Claussen (Aniston) stops at the inn, Mike immediately plots an awkward plan to seduce her. Things go better than either of them would have guessed, but Sue still leaves for her home in Maryland. Mike impulsively follows her east, beginning an uncomfortable but heartfelt courtship that takes the road less traveled. Sue's move from Maryland to Washington does little to deter Mike, but the reappearance of her ex-boyfriend, ex-punk Jango (Woody Harrelson), could throw him off course.
MANAGEMENT balances its star power (A-list actress Aniston) with its indie roots (theatrical distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films) to make a movie that doesn't fit the rubric of either genre. It's too quirky for a studio film, but it's sweet enough that it shouldn't scare away any fans of Aniston's work in FRIENDS and HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. She's more in the territory of THE GOOD GIRL and FRIENDS WITH MONEY here, and Sue is a complicated part that Aniston pulls off. In his other roles, Zahn often labors in the background and steals scenes from actors with higher billing, but MANAGEMENT is indisputably a leading role for the actor. His Mike commits acts bordering on criminal (or at least crazy) in his cross-country pursuit of Sue, but thanks to Zahn's performance, it's hard not to feel devoted to his character and to understand Sue's (reluctant) attraction. Fans of the cringe-worthy humor of comedies like THE OFFICE will enjoy squirming through this unlikely romance.
- for language
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): KIM5406
Steve Zahn, Jennifer Aniston, Woody Harrelson, Fred Ward, Margo Martindale, James Liao
3 stars out of 5 -- "Aniston's willingness to be still, to go small when the emotion could have called for big, continues to impress. She and Zahn make a good team..."
3 stars out of 4 -- "MANAGEMENT works as a sweet rom-com with some fairly big laughs."
"[I]t maintains its integrity as a small, sweet-natured comedy that refuses to obey the commercial dictates of Hollywood by allowing its characters to determine their own zany destinies."
New York Times
"MANAGEMENT has its whimsically offbeat moments, and Zahn is puppy-dog adorable."
"[A] delightfully screwball romantic comedy....Like watching a puppy chase its own tail, it's a pleasure watching Mike try to win Sue over."
"As a specialist in space cadets, Mr. Zahn could have played this role with his eyes shut, but he keeps them wide open and fixed on Sue..."
Wall Street Journal
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