We don’t know about you, but we’ve been missing Jennifer Aniston and her remarkable comic timing lately. Since landing an Oscar nomination for the very serious, not exactly joke-filled Cake back in 2014, she’s cropped up in just a handful of films (including the Love Actually-esque seasonal rom-com Mother’s Day, the most notable part of which was probably the wig worn by Julia Roberts, and Office Christmas Party, a continuation of Jen An’s inexplicable fondness for workplace-based ‘comedies’ like Horrible Bosses 1 and 2) and has been focusing instead on the endorsement deals (Emirates, Smartwater, Aveeno, you know the drill) that ensured she still appeared at number three on this year's Forbes list of the world's best paid actresses.
Luckily, we needn’t drown our sorrows at Jennifer’s big and small screen absence with old Friends re-runs for too long, because the Anistonaissance (just trips off the tongue, doesn’t it?) is nigh. Not only is the star slated to appear in Apple’s anticipated ‘Untitled Morning TV Show Drama’ opposite her former screen sister Reese Witherspoon (for which they’ll each receive a record $1.1 million per episode, according to trade reports) and The Office’s Steve Carell, she’s also about to star in her very first Netflix original movie.
That movie is Dumplin’, and we have a sneaking suspicion that it might just prove to be a word-of-mouth hit just like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before earlier this year. From the trailer, the signs are already auspicious. Jennifer plays a former Deep South pageant queen, a local celebrity who’s still lacquered to within an inch of her life and channels all her energy into organizing the local teen pageant, while Danielle Macdonald is her Dolly Parton-loving daughter Willowdean. Fed up with her mother’s obsession with pageant life, she decides to stage a protest by entering herself, inspiring other girls to follow suit. Her best friend is played by Odessa Rush, best known so far as Lady Bird's resident popular girl, and Dolly Parton herself has recorded new songs (and re-recorded some classics) for the soundtrack. What could be better?
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The prospect of a gender-flipped re-boot doesn't always fill us with anticipation, but that's not the case with Ocean's 8, which has managed to cast - deep breath - Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, rapper and comedian Awkwafina and Rihanna as a gang of con artists orchestrating a jewel heist at the Met Gala (Anne Hathaway plays their target). Given the star power involved, here's hoping they pull it offu2026Summer
It's perfectly reasonable that the words 'Netflix,' 'plus size' and 'pageant' might leave you with unpleasant flashbacks to the problematic (and, eventually, critically derided) Insatiable, which aired earlier this year and dealt with vaguely similar subject matter. But Dumplin' s plot (it's based on a novel by Julie Murphy) looks to be altogether more uplifting and empowering: it's about changing other people's attitudes for the better, not changing yourself.
Watch the new trailer for Dumplin' below, before it lands on Netflix on December 7th...