Just Friends

"OK"

Just Friends Review


I like Ryan Reynolds. I like Anna Faris. I'm befuddled why Amy Smart hasn't become the 21st century version of Meg Ryan. All three star in Just Friends, and they are all likable, with Reynolds and Faris showing deft comic timing. It's too bad the script doesn't just let them down, it leaves them for dead.

The movie starts in 1995. Chris (Reynolds) and Jamie (Smart) are childhood friends, who have just graduated high school. Chris chooses the night of her graduation party to confess his love for her. Long story short, Chris's love for Jamie gets broadcast for everyone to hear, and she responds by telling Jamie that she loves him. Like a brother.

Fast forward 10 years. Chris has shed the extra pounds, lost the Robert Reed man-perm, and is living the good life in Los Angeles, hobnobbing with celebrities and sleeping with starlets. His latest assignment for his record label is to land the next album from Samantha James (Faris), an amorous, vacuous pop singer whose aspirations to be the next Joni Mitchell tell us plenty about her mental state.

Desperate to land Samantha's talents, whatever the cost to his manhood or sanity, Chris hops on her private plane to Paris. Due to Samantha's stupidity, the plane is forced to land just outside of Trenton, New Jersey, Chris's old stomping grounds. Without any options, Chris and Samantha are forced to spend the Christmas holiday with his mom and younger brother while the plane is repaired.

Here is the point when we realize the movie is in a race against time. Chris is not happy to stay in his old town -- the site of his teenage scarring -- so why would he not stay in a hotel? Or seeing how most big companies have expense accounts, couldn't the two have chartered a plane? Well, if they do that, then Chris can't reunite with Jamie, who is working at the local bar while she gets her teaching degree. And then Chris can't hatch his alpha male plan to get back at Jamie, which we all know will have no staying power. With such a glaring plot hole 15 minutes in, the movie's delicate fabric won't hold forever. (Let's not go into why the movie is set during Christmas, or how long it takes to repair a plane.)

There are moments of gut-busting goofiness here, with Chris watching The Notebook with his mother and Faris's disaster at open mic night two highlights. Still, Adam Davis's script pushes the activity along without any consideration for common sense, both on screen and in regards to the overall plot structure. The movie veers from slapstick to relationship drama to coming of age angst, never finding a fit. Characters get shuffled about to fit Davis's moods, so Reynolds's glib charm, Smart's endearing cuteness, and Faris's sex-fueled craziness feel more out of place as the movie plods along. And as Davis piles yet another obstacle in front of Chris and Jamie's inevitable union, you wonder why they both don't sign up for Match.com.

Davis's contrived set-ups and his inability to smoothly transition from scene to scene are deadly, but not as much as his inability to justify why Jamie is the romantic end-all for Chris. Yes, Jamie is stunning, but no one harbors a crush for almost 20 years based on looks alone. For Davis and director Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions), there's nothing else, which underscores Just Friends' laziness and its blind desire to move along the proceedings. When your movie hinges on people falling love, such treatment short changes the characters and the audience. Maybe in this case, Chris and Jamie just being friends wasn't such a bad idea.



Just Friends

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 23rd November 2005

Box Office USA: $32.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $50.8M

Distributed by: New Line Cinema

Production compaines: Cinezeta, New Line Cinema

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Fresh: 41 Rotten: 58

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , William J. Johnson, , J.C. Spink,

Starring: as Chris Brander, as Jamie Palamino, as Samantha James, as Dusty Dinkleman, as Mike Brander, as Carol Brander, Giacomo Beltrami as Young Mike Brander, Amy Matysio as Darla, Fred Ewanuick as Clark, Wendy Anderson as Mrs. Palamino, as Mr. Palamino, Ty Olsson as Tim, Devyn Burant as Brett, Mike O'Brien as Hockey Dad, Jaden Ryan as Joey, Todd Lewis as Kyle, Annie Brebner as Sarah, Justin Kirby as Jock #1, Jackie Mitchell as Jock #2, as KC

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.