Eye For Film >> Movies >> Just Friends (2005) Film Review
Reviewed by: Stephen McMorland
Just Friends has a cast of largely unknown actors, a familiar plot hook and a certain amount of charm.
Ryan Reynolds, resembling the unnatural result of a crossbreeding programme involving Will Ferrel and Chevy Chase, and Samantha Janus lookalike Amy Smart are childhood friends Chris and Jaimie. Chris (Reynolds) is the proverbial fat loser, Jaimie the popular, pretty girl of his dreams. The night of their high school graduation, they are at a party where Chris tries to declare his true feelings for Jaimie. It goes terribly wrong and he ends up humiliated in front of everyone and, worse still, is placed very firmly into the Friend Zone with the words "I love you, Chris".... like a brother.
Ten years later Chris has transformed himself into a slimmed down womanising A&R man for a record company. He is rather unpleasant and totally opposite to the charming butterball he was at high school. His boss tells him to make a deal with an annoying pop princess, called Samantha James (played with great relish by Anna Faris), who is talentless, demanding, oversexed and totally obnoxious. She is also rather stupid and self absorbed and it seems she also knew Chris at high school and becomes fixates upon the idea that he is her boyfriend and proceeds to make his life miserable.
Somehow, they end up stranded in New Jersey, their old stomping ground, and Chris returns to the family home for the first time in 10 years - his mother is played with the usual ditzy style that Julie Hagerty has made her own, with that ever so slightly sinister little girl voice - and is once more thrust back into the world he thought he had left behind, including meeting up with Jaimie again. He decides to try and date her and is aided by an old school friend and hindered by the unwelcome reappearance of Dinkelman, another teenage geek turned good looking adult.
There is plenty of good-natured slapstick fun, physical humour being the main means of getting laughs, as well as enjoyable caricatures of various stereotypes. Just Friends is less crude than many films of its kind and even made me laugh - always a good thing in a comedy - despite an off-the-peg message about being true to yourself, as love (sigh!) conquers all.Reviewed on: 05 Jan 2006