Just Friends

  • Film
  • Comedy
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Ten years ago, Chris Brander was the laughing stock of his high school: unfashionable, overweight and with an unrequited crush on his female best friend, Jamie. Now he’s a slim, gorgeous music exec who practically gets paid to seduce beautiful pop stars. But what are the passing pleasures of the high life next to the down-to-earth charms of the girl next door and life back home in New Jersey? So goes the familiar message of this youthful comedy, but don’t dismiss it just yet. With its generous dose of black humour and comically versatile leads, ‘Just Friends’ has more in common with ‘There’s Something About Mary’ than ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.

Ryan Reynolds strikes a pleasingly sinister note as ruthless seducer Chris, and affectionate flashbacks of him in a fat-suit entertain rather than offend (think of Monica’s chubby high school scenes in ‘Friends’). Reynolds pales in comparison with Anna Faris, however, who scores as a whimsical, unhinged pop diva whose stupidity lands them in New Jersey for Christmas (‘Am I being “Punk’d”? Where’s Ashton?’ she burbles vainly after an emergency landing). While Faris’ physical and character comedy are the film’s strongest assets, its weakest link is the plot itself. Chris and Jamie (a pretty but uninspiring Amy Smart) go on a series of dates during which he tries a variety of tactics, ultimately discovering that the whole ‘be yourself’ thing was always the best way forward (yawn). Still, with its lively supporting cast and often biting humour, ‘Just Friends’ has many pleasures to offer an audience in search of a romantic comedy with a bit of an edge.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday January 6 2006
Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Roger Kumble
Cast: Ryan Reynolds
Amy Smart
Anna Faris
Chris Klein
Chris Marquette
Julie Haggarty
Stephen Root
Fred Ewanuick
Amy Matysio
Barry Flatman
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