Just Friends

Film
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Time Out says

It's hard for any randy teenager to maintain a platonic relationship with his best pal when the friend in question is a comely cheerleader. And things get especially complicated when the lovelorn teen is impeded by obesity and dental hardware, given to crooning wistful R&B ballads and subject to the taunts of a snotty high-school crowd whose ruthless group mentality would make a pack of wolves appear harmless.

Ten years after graduation, Chris (Reynolds) has lost an impressive amount of weight and acquired a slick job in the music industry. On his way from L.A. to Paris, while charged with guarding a nympho pop diva, he takes a detour to his New Jersey home, winds up in the local bar and runs into Jamie (Smart), the cause of his youthful angst. Naturally, Chris's newfound success has rendered him an insensitive cad, as he name-drops MTV personalities, interrupts intimate conversations for cell-phone calls and scoffs at his mother's advice to "just be himself."

Tired high jinks ensue: Chris faces competition in Dusty (Klein), another recovering dweeb whose tactical affinity for church sing-alongs and movies like The Notebook pose a threat to Chris's attempts to woo his former crush. Chris eventually realizes that his earnest feelings for Jamie trump his flashy West Coast life. Trite? Blame our national love affair with high school. (Opens Fri; see Now playing for venues.)
—Erin Clements

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