08/05/2002 at 01:00 AM EDT
As the critics have been remarking ever since "The Good Girl" premiered last January at the Sundance Film Festival, Jennifer Aniston's role as a put-upon rural Texas wife named Justine is a long way from her perky Rachel Green on the long-running TV hit "Friends." Justine, who works in a dead-end job, is a sort of down-market Madame Bovary in overalls whose extramarital affair leads to trouble. For Aniston, 33, "The Good Girl" is kind of what "Ordinary People" was to TV good girl Mary Tyler Moore in 1980. As "Girl" director Miguel Arteta ("Chuck & Buck") tells New York's Daily News: "I told her there'd be no makeup, her hair would be dirty and it would be intense from the start." While expressing gratitude for the role that made her famous, Aniston told the paper that playing Rachel "can become a kind of thorn in your side. Because sometimes people just identify you with that character, so it's hard for them to buy something else." And as for extramarital affairs, Aniston, who in real life is married to Brad Pitt, 39, said, "The idea that someone else is going to be your savior, that just isn't gonna work. We all come in alone, and we're going out alone. As long as you have someone to sit and enjoy the ride with."