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Red-Faced

Here's what the cast of ''Friends'' is up to this week -- Did Redbook fake a Jennifer Aniston cover? Plus, London drama critics tell Matthew Perry not to quit his day job

PUZZLING PHOTO Jennifer Aniston is the first person to say she thinks she's getting a swelled head -- on the cover of the current issue of Redbook magazine, that is. Aniston complained to Us Weekly that she didn't pose for the cover photo, but that a disproportionately large shot of her head was pasted onto a body from another photo. Or SEVERAL other photos, says her spokesperson, Steven Huvane, who details what he says are the jigsaw puzzle-like components. ''The pants and her left hand with the wedding band are from one picture; her right arm, which [on the Redbook cover] is thicker and discolored, is from another; her head is from a paparazzi shot; her shirt is painted on; they changed her hair,'' he told the New York Daily News. ''And [Redbook] actually gave a makeup credit, as if she posed for a photo shoot. Forgive my language, but that takes balls.'' He said Aniston was mulling possible legal action and would certainly never pose for the magazine again.

Redbook's editor, Ellen Kunes, defended the cover. ''It's 100 percent her,'' she told the Daily News. Yes, but are all the percentage points from the same shot?

WEST END BLUES The London revival of David Mamet's ''Sexual Perversity in Chicago,'' which marks Matthew Perry's West End debut, finally premiered on May 14, and the English theater critics weren't too Friend-ly. The play, a comedy about two young adults whose budding romance is sabotaged by their cynical best friends, was the source of the 1986 movie ''About Last Night,'' with Rob Lowe in the role Perry plays on stage. ''Matthew Perry not only acts with a self-conscious touch that is as heavy as a grasp, but looks almost old enough to play his character's Daddy,'' said the London Evening Standard. ''Perry appears incapable of revealing his character's dark side, falling back instead on his usual repertoire of odd vocal inflections and exaggerated double-takes,'' said the BBC News. ''Perry proves that he is very good at aw-shucks smiles and circle-mouthed expressions of perplexity. He can also do quite funny things with his chin. That, unfortunately, is about the extent of his repertoire,'' said the Daily Telegraph. He ''spends a lot of [the] production being baffled, dim and so chunkily unglamorous you'd find a Stonehenge menhir sexier,'' said the Times of London.

Sounding a rare note of praise, the Guardian said, ''The four actors are perfectly matched in Lindsay Posner's production. Matthew Perry and Kelly Reilly as the attractive lovers move convincingly from mutual sexual curiosity to Strindbergian loathing.'' Still, the Guardian said, Perry and Reilly were upstaged by Hank Azaria and Minnie Driver as the best friends. The play runs through Aug. 2.

Originally posted May 21, 2003