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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.78%
Worth A Look: 27.12%
Pretty Bad: 13.56%
Total Crap: 13.56%

6 reviews, 23 user ratings

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Just Friends
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by Scott Weinberg

"Shockingly, stunningly, amazingly ... not half-bad!"
3 stars

I could probably be forgiven for walking into "Just Friends" feeling more than a little skeptical. Despite my affection for actors like Anna Faris and Ryan Reynolds, I just wasn't all that pumped to see a movie about a former fatty who returns to his hometown to woo his old high-school crush. One that was directed by "The Sweetest Thing" director Roger Kumble, anyway. But hey, this is why we actually GO to the movies instead of reviewing the trailers and the pre-release buzz: Because while it sure isn't high art (or even one of 2005's best comedies), "Just Friends" made me chuckle and giggle, and quite a bit more often than I expected it to.

Forget the introductory section in which Reynolds is saddled with a chipper demeanor and an unconvincing fat-suit. This segment exists only to lay the flimsy-plot foundation for the fun stuff to come. Plus it's really ripe and not at all amusing. All you need to know is that Chris used to be a fatty in love with his "BFF" Jamie. Following a silly humiliation which Chris takes way too seriously, we clumsily flash forward to...

Ten years later and Chris is not only thin and handsome, but quite humorously snarky and a dashing ladies' man to boot. Chris has (somehow) become a hotshot record executive, and his boss (the underused Stephen Root) wants him to sign pop sensation Samantha James, as played in vapid Paris Hilton style by Anna Faris. Thanks to yet another very clumsy plot contrivance, Chris and Samantha find themselves stranded in Chris' old New Jersey burg, and it's there that old flames will be re-ignited, new ones will be extinguished, and much slapstickery will occur.

With a different cast of actors, I shudder to think of how deathly Just Friends would have been. Kumble directs in a firm sitcom style, and the screenplay by first-timer Adam 'Tex' Davis relies way too much on obvious pratfalls and simplistic conceits. But the performers save the day on Just Friends, so much so that they turn a potentially worthless comedy into something filled with, no lie, at least 10 or 12 really solid laughs.

Much of the credit can be offered to Ryan Reynolds, working his old-school Chevy Chase smartass vibe to very amusing effect, and to Anna Faris, who I sincerely believe might be the very funniest actress working today. (Her work in Lost in Translation, May, and the Scary Movies speaks for itself, plus she's just great in an as-yet-unreleased comedy called Southern Belles.) Toss in a surprisingly funny supprting turn by American Pie veteran Chris Klein and a painfully arresting turn by Chris Marquette, as Reynolds' wise-ass little brother, and you've got a bunch of actors working pretty damn hard to salvage a fairly flimsy flick.

Lensed on the cheap and seemingly written in a big hurry, "Just Friends" is nobody's idea of a "rush out and see it opening night" sort of affair, but I walked into the thing expecting a lifeless mass of mirthless torture, and I walked away pleasantly surprised by the ensemble cast's consistent chuckle delivery. "Just Friends" is cinematic junk food that you'll forget about within a few hours, but after its first 20 minutes, the flick made me laugh pretty darn often. And it's really unfair to try and dissuade others from seeing a movie that made me laugh pretty darn often.

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originally posted: 11/24/05 03:22:38
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User Comments

3/25/21 morris campbell not bad 4 stars
8/27/20 Suzanne The slapstick and Ryan Reynolds' timing are the only redeeming elements. 3 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 3 stars
5/17/07 ES Some really funny moments 4 stars
5/07/07 David Pollastrini Not great not terrible 3 stars
4/02/07 Stanley Thai A pretty funny film but feels like a 2 hour movie. 3 stars
11/17/06 Christina A I loved the movie!!I still get a kick out of the whole NSYNC thing..Two thumbs up 5 stars
10/31/06 your worst goddamn nightmare Great lil' film... I thoroughly enjoyed it for laughs... 5 stars
10/29/06 Tara Great movie! it was really funny and original. 5 stars
7/31/06 Nicole Hated it..wished the whole cast would die in the Xmas explosion so the movie could end! 1 stars
7/07/06 Joe I wanted to kill Anna Faris's character. The most annoying performance I've ever seen. 2 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar Better than I expected. Loads of belly-laughs. Faris especially good. 4 stars
2/10/06 chris f reasonable film 4 stars
1/25/06 Kirsten Dunst and Anna Faris fan in deeper mourning Seems Sofia Coppola can direct no promising actress without turning her into a total shrew! 1 stars
1/25/06 Another Anna Faris fan still in mourning Anna Faris's downward spiral reaches point where she'd be more appealing eating her shit! 1 stars
1/24/06 Regina Haniger I totally lost count of the # of points at which this snotfest should have been euthanized! 1 stars
1/16/06 kristian williams its not as bad as your making it out to be its not suposed to be clever 3 stars
12/22/05 tina mateer sort of boring and would not tell any one to go see it 2 stars
12/08/05 Steve Michaud I just love people who grade movies not on cinematic worth but on the "hotness" of its lead 1 stars
11/26/05 amy no matter what ryan looks like he is super dooper freakin' hott 5 stars
11/25/05 Idiot_for_LMP Went kicking and screaming! Worse than I expected!! 1 stars
11/25/05 baseball-nut The film industry has not had a good crap! 1 stars
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  23-Nov-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Mar-2006

  06-Jan-2006 (12A)


Directed by
  Roger Kumble

Written by
  Adam "Tex" Davis

  Ryan Reynolds
  Amy Smart
  Anna Faris
  Chris Klein
  Chris Marquette
  Stephen Root

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