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  Publicity Stills of "Just Friends"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Roger Kumble
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Klein
RunTime: 1 hr 36 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16

Official Website: www.justfriends.com

Release Date: 16 November 2006

Synopsis :

The romantic comedy "Just Friends" stars Ryan Reynolds as a former high school geek turned trendy Los Angeles music executive. When he gets stranded in his New Jersey home town due to bad weather with a superstar singer he is trying to sign, he finds himself reunited with his high school crush and discovers she is his true love.

Movie Review:

There has been a dearth of college/varsity related films in recent times and despite Just Friends arriving a year late on our shores, it is a much welcome distraction. Still, this does not in any way mean that the film should be nominated for the likes of a Golden Globe.

Usually, films of this genre usually cause us to reflect on our respective love lives, hoping to have similar fairytale outcomes like theirs. Truth is we are only left with just that, hope. The case with Just Friends is that it probably goes down the same normal route with the exception being that the story is pretty much what almost all of us can relate to.

How so? Well, Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) is best friends with Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart). Graduation from college looms and following tradition in signing each other’s yearbooks, Chris takes the opportunity to pour his feelings towards Jamie in her yearbook. Something rather messy happens on the night of a party and an embarrassed Chris runs away, swearing that he will show them all one day that he will be a somebody. Fast forward to the not-so-distant future and we see a different Chris who has now become a record label executive and a serial womanizer who teaches his friend a thing or two about the “just friends” syndrome. Being ordered by his boss to hire wanna-be singer, Samantha James (Anna Faris), a Paris Hilton caricature, the duo end up at his hometown after an in-flight fiasco. And thus, Chris is forced to battle his past when he meets Jamie again after ten years.

Ryan Reynolds works it as Chris Brander, playing the chubby Chris with much tenderness and being the self-obsessive Chris Brander with ounces of ego. He played his character with much Jim Carrey-esque elasticity but also restrained himself when the time called him to do so. He is a joy to watch on screen and both he and Amy Smart as Jamie Palamino obviously have chemistry. She played Jamie with a certain amount of sweetness but the same cannot be said for Anna Faris as Samantha James, whose character was supposed to be over-the-top and quite honestly, irritating, only served as a much-needed plot device, the other woman. The rest of the cast which includes American Pie alumnus, Chris Klein fills out the ensemble nicely and provides much laughter.

The film is relevant for a fifteen year old who’s on the verge of asking a girl out for the first time, the working class who commit themselves to their jobs or even single unmarried geezers. In truth, the film transports one back to the time when love first bloomed in one’s life. The problem is, Jamie’s treatment of Chris, who is by the way, an overweight, meek and possibly a geek, as her best friend and spouting the lines, “We’re just friends” and “I love you like a brother” hits too close to the heart.

At the end of the film, one can possibly list the various names of friends who are in the same boat as Chris and Jamie. However, there is a feeling that one might spend more time looking at the mirror and laughing away at one’s own memories about being in the “Friends Zone” of the girl/guy one likes.

Just Friends is a delight to watch for its brand of humour and its subject matter. Sometimes, all it takes is just a little bit of love to open up our hearts.

ovie Rating:

(Just Friends is just a movie which is just right for that date with someone who’s just a friend. *Wink* We know.)

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri

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