Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) has an ultra cool life as a music executive in LA with his goodlooks, money and a job with a lifestyle to die for. But life wasn’t always so rosy. Ten years ago at high school, Chris was uncool, overweight and the butt of everyone’s jokes. The one thing that kept him going was his relationship with cheerleader Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart), with whom he was secretly in love. But they were ‘just friends’. Now, on assignment with a spoilt brat pin-up girl/singer Samantha James (Anna Faris), Chris lands back in New Jersey with his difficult charge. When he runs into Jamie at the local bar, in a bid to fuel his ego, he tries to impress her. But so is Dusty Dinkleman (Chris Klein), and Chris is out to prove that a relationship can escape from the ‘friend zone’.
Review by Louise Keller:
If you enjoyed National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and want to laugh some more, look no further than Just Friends, a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that will make you forget all your worries and the state of the world. Bursting at the seams with lashings of heart, this is comedy at its broadest, with larger-than-life situations, a smartly sharp script and knock-out performances from an instantly likeable cast.
Just like he loses himself in the fat suit at the beginning of the film, Ryan Reynolds totally immerses himself in the comedy. It’s the same kind of comedy that Ben Stiller does so well, and Reynolds is terrific. Also impressive is Anna Faris as the man-hungry blonder-than-blonde wacko pop-diva Samantha James (think Britney Spears, Paris Hilton) who does everything out of tune – from singing to pouncing on her prey. It takes a misadventure in a private jet with this high maintenance bimbo and an exploding microwave to get Reynolds’ Chris back to his hometown, where his nightmares of being a ‘chubby bunny’ and bigtime loser have long been buried.
It takes no time at all for all his insecurities to be rekindled, and Chris even finds himself wearing a retainer on his teeth again, when his attempts to show off his ice-skating skills go horribly wrong. Amy Smart is warm and sweet as Jamie, the girl of everyone’s dreams and Chris Klein is downright funny as Dusty Dinkleman, the pimply stutterer who morphs into a slimy seducer. Story elements like Chris’ relationship with his sweet-as-pie mom (Julie Hagerty) and young brother Mike (Christopher Marquette), who jumps at the chance to execute ‘delay tactics’ with the buxom Samantha, add enjoyable additional layers of complexity. And the wintry Christmas setting brings a sleigh-full of comedic opportunities, like Santa Clause catching on fire and the illuminated reindeers blacking out in the snow.
Exploring friendships on all levels, Just Friends is frivolous fun. If you’re hungry for a laugh, take a bite.
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JUST FRIENDS (M)
CAST: Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Chris Klein, Amy Smart
PRODUCER: Chris Bender, William J. Johnson, Michael Ohoven, J.C. Spink, William Vince
DIRECTOR: Roger Kumble
SCRIPT: Adam 'Tex' Davis
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony B. Richmond
EDITOR: Jeff Freeman
MUSIC: Jeff Cardoni, Machine Head
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Robb Wilson King
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 9, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific
VIDEO RELEASE: Septmeber 6, 2006