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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.02%
Worth A Look: 26.32%
Just Average38.6%
Pretty Crappy: 14.04%
Sucks: 14.04%

6 reviews, 21 user ratings

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Just Friends
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by Doug Bentin

"Guess what? It’s not a disaster after all."
3 stars

If the poster and the trailer for “Just Friends” haven’t already convinced you that you don’t want to see it, you must not ever look at posters or watch trailers. If ever a marketing team positioned a picture for failure, the big brains at New Line are the ones. I wouldn’t trust the geniuses who put this campaign together to sell beer on prom night.

And it’s a shame because the flick isn’t half bad. You won’t mistake the script for something written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, but it does contain some solid laughs coming from unexpected places.

Ryan Reynolds (“Waiting,” “Amityville Horror”) stars as Chris, who was fat and sensitive and madly in love in high school with a girl named Jamie, who considered him to be her best friend but never thought of him in that way. After screwing up asking her to be his girl friend and making such an ass of himself he couldn’t transfer to “Napoleon Dynamite” and get a date with Deb, Chris rushes away on his bike, takes off for the left coast, and becomes a medium-shot in the music business.

About this pre-credit high-school-is-hell-if-you’re-different sequence. I got the distinct impression that it was written, directed and acted by people who never had the weight problem Chris has, or, if they did, they weren’t as bright (read “devious”) as they should have been. This is the voice of experience speaking, folks. Well, the fingers of experience typing. Pay heed.

Yes, Jamie doesn’t think of Chris as real date material—day dates to the soda shoppe don’t count—but she spends more time with him than she apparently does with anyone else. They tickle each other, and roll around on the floor (if he hasn’t copped a few feels he is a loser indeed), and share secrets. So she treats him something like a favorite girl friend rather than one of the boy variety. The poor sook doesn’t know how lucky he is.

But back to the movie.

Ten years later, he’s slimmed down and gotten into shape. His boss assigns him to baby sit a clueless and talent-challenged pop singer named Samantha (Anna Faris, doing a spot-on impression of what we all suspect Britney Spears would be like if she were as smart as Jessica Simpson), and their plane has to make an emergency landing in, yes, Chris’ home town.

There he has to contend with Samantha’s jealousy, his younger brother’s younger-brotherliness, old friends, a slightly disconnected mother, the other nerd who had a crush on Jamie back in the day and who has now morphed into Mr. Perfect (Chris Klein), and seeing Jamie (a delightful and believable Amy Smart) after all those years.

Jamie wants to continue their paldom but Chris wants to show her what a gold mine she missed out on by letting him run away.

Cue the romantic comedy situations, right? Only partially. What is so unexpected about “Just Friends” is that director Roger Kumble (“The Sweetest Thing”) and writer Adam “Tex” Davis have decided to take the romcom formula and graft it on to a slapstick farce--pratfalls, car crashes, shots to the nards, snowballs to the head, and all. If Moe, Curly, and Larry had ever been involved in a ménage a quarto with Carol Burnett, it would have played out something like this.

Once you get past Chris’ humiliation in the opening flashback, the film seems heavy-handed. That’s because you expect the more gentle humor of the standard romance and what you get is the broad overplaying of physical comedy. It takes a scene or two to figure out what the hell is going on, style-wise, and from then on you can enjoy the goofiness without thinking that the director has no control of the cast, all of whom are funny.

Reynolds seems to go a little too far over the top when he’s being fat Chris, but I think it looks that way because the makeup exaggerates his facial expressions. In any case, his lip-syncing to the side of the end credits goes on way too long.

“Just Friends” isn’t the most surprising comedy of the year—“The 40 Year Old Virgin” still holds that distinction—but it’s a lot better than its marketing would lead you to believe it is.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13514&reviewer=405
originally posted: 12/01/05 14:51:19
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User Comments

10/30/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 3 stars
5/17/07 ES Some really funny moments 4 stars
5/06/07 David Pollastrini Not great not terrible 3 stars
4/01/07 Stanley Thai A pretty funny film but feels like a 2 hour movie. 3 stars
11/16/06 Christina A I loved the movie!!I still get a kick out of the whole NSYNC thing..Two thumbs up 5 stars
10/30/06 your worst goddamn nightmare Great lil' film... I thoroughly enjoyed it for laughs... 5 stars
10/29/06 Tara Great movie! it was really funny and original. 5 stars
7/30/06 Nicole Hated it..wished the whole cast would die in the Xmas explosion so the movie could end! 1 stars
7/06/06 Joe I wanted to kill Anna Faris's character. The most annoying performance I've ever seen. 2 stars
3/12/06 Roderick Cromar Better than I expected. Loads of belly-laughs. Faris especially good. 4 stars
2/09/06 chris f reasonable film 4 stars
1/24/06 Kirsten Dunst and Anna Faris fan in deeper mourning Seems Sofia Coppola can direct no promising actress without turning her into a total shrew! 1 stars
1/24/06 Another Anna Faris fan still in mourning Anna Faris's downward spiral reaches point where she'd be more appealing eating her shit! 1 stars
1/24/06 Regina Haniger I totally lost count of the # of points at which this snotfest should have been euthanized! 1 stars
1/15/06 kristian williams its not as bad as your making it out to be its not suposed to be clever 3 stars
12/21/05 tina mateer sort of boring and would not tell any one to go see it 2 stars
12/08/05 Steve Michaud I just love people who grade movies not on cinematic worth but on the "hotness" of its lead 1 stars
11/25/05 amy no matter what ryan looks like he is super dooper freakin' hott 5 stars
11/24/05 Idiot_for_LMP Went kicking and screaming! Worse than I expected!! 1 stars
11/24/05 baseball-nut The film industry has not had a good year....total crap! 1 stars
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  23-Nov-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Mar-2006

  06-Jan-2006 (12A)


Directed by
  Roger Kumble

Written by
  Adam "Tex" Davis

  Ryan Reynolds
  Amy Smart
  Anna Faris
  Chris Klein
  Chris Marquette
  Stephen Root

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