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Rewind: What's a friend to do?

If NBC's Friends calls it quits after the next TV season, its six actors probably will want to add movie credits to their fledgling film resumes.

By STEVE PERSALL, Times Film Critic

© St. Petersburg Times
published August 22, 2002


This week's arrival of Jennifer Aniston in The Good Girl and Matthew Perry in Serving Sara makes us wonder what the stars of NBC's popular Friends sitcom will do for a living when the show goes off the air, possibly at the end of this season.

Each of the Friends sextet -- Aniston, Perry, Courtney Cox-Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer -- has tested the waters of feature films. Most of them drowned in bad reviews and red ink on studio ledgers. Some of their efforts are practically unwatchable, such as LeBlanc's monkey-playing-baseball flick Ed, or Perry in anything.

But a few weren't bad. Here's a list of the top-10 films starring everybody's Friends:

Ace Ventura, Pet Detective -- Jim Carrey upstaged everything in his first major movie role, including Cox-Arquette's performance as his supportive love interest.

The Scream trilogy -- Take your pick, since Wes Craven essentially made the same movie three times. Cox added the "Arquette" to her billing after she met David on the set of Scream (I) and got married. She was very convincing as an annoying, media-hungry reporter investigating grisly murders.

Office Space -- A flop in theaters, but this comedy is picking up a nice cult following through home video. Aniston plays a waitress intrigued by a rebellious office worker (Ron Livingston) whose best efforts to get fired keep backfiring.

Rock Star -- Some movies are so bad they're a pleasure to behold. Aniston is the loyal girlfriend ignoring the drugs and groupies tempting her boyfriend (Mark Wahlberg) when he replaces the lead singer of his favorite band. Almost Famous meets Valley of the Dolls.

Analyze This -- Kudrow seems to have the inside track on movie stardom right now, with Aniston closing fast. Kudrow plays the girlfriend of a psychologist (Billy Crystal) hired by a mobster (Robert De Niro) to cure his neuroses. She'll also co-star in December's sequel, Analyze That.

Clockwatchers -- Kudrow scores again as a temporary office worker doing as little as possible to earn a paycheck. Alongside other temps (including Parker Posey and Toni Collette) she breaks the monotony until an office theft scandal pits them against each other.

Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion -- Kudrow's ditzy precision on television carried over to this comedy about best friends faking their way to respect they never earned from classmates before. Oscar winner Mira Sorvino costars but this is Kudrow's best starring performance, so far.

The Opposite of Sex -- Kudrow made a nice impression as a perpetually depressed sister of an AIDS victim whose former lover gets seduced by a teenager (Christina Ricci).

Breast Men -- How appropriate that David Schwimmer's best acting occurred in a made-for-TV movie. Schwimmer and Chris Cooper (American Beauty) costar as the inventors of breast implants in a fact-based story spanning three decades of silicone fixations.

Lost in Space -- Okay, if I must sit through another Matt LeBlanc movie, I'll choose this 1998 version of the 1960s sci-fi television show. LeBlanc looked good in space armor and just as confused by the plot as was the audience.

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