JUST FRIENDS
 

Directed by Roger Kumble. Germany/USA/Canada. 2005.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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Although Kumble was guilty of bringing us The Sweetest Thing the gross-out film for women, do not be put off by that but instead think of it as another vehicle for the comedic talent of Ryan Reynolds.  

Reynolds who did a brilliant piece of work with Van Wilder: Party Liason (2003) in taking a run of the mill film intended to be for few eyes and raised it beyond its level of intention and made it a cult hit.  Reynolds is again the star on show in this feature which does ask a lot of him but nevertheless only asks him to carry the film.  

Reynolds does this but whereas he previously had Tara Reid to call a partner, in this he must jinx a performance out of Amy Smart who has done the dream-girl role for most of her career including Road Trip (2001).  But at least he has some support from Anna Faris, who like Reynolds has worked through sitcom support to movie support and here does an extension of her role in Lost in Translation but this time as a ditzy, horrible bubblegum diva.

Reynolds plays Chris Brander, an overweight lovable mug who is in love with his best friend in high school, Jamie (Smart) but upon graduation his declaration of love gets only a tearful thank you but not reciprocation.  In a burst of spontaneity he leaves for LA loses the weight, becomes a womaniser and a record executive.  Days before Christmas his boss gives him the task of securing the signing of Samantha James (Faris), star of the hottest poster in music.  A flight to Paris grounds the two in Chrisí New Jersey hometown.  On the night of his arrival he bumps into Jamie at the local bar where he asks her out and attempts to win her over.

This is all well and good for Reynolds who has to act like an egotistical jerk when trying to be aloof, and due to an injury sustained at ice-skating he slowly regresses back to his high-school self by way of braces and geeky clothing.  It is this sort of comedy that the piece could easily have sustained but it instead focuses on the romance and love triangle which occurs between Chris, Jamie and Dusty (a nice supporting role by Chris Klein) which actually makes the 94 minute running time seem to drag, which is a disappointment.  

Although it will keep you laughing with pratfalls and moments of embarrassment for Chris it should not detract from a decent romantic comedy aimed at the teen market which ticks all the right boxes and is helped by a credible lead by Reynolds and excellent support by Faris and Christopher Marquette (The Girl Next Door) as his brother Michael.

Jamie Garwood
 
 
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