Director: Roger Kumble
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris,
RunTime: 1 hr 36 mins
Released By: UIP
Date: 16 November 2006
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
(Just Friends is just a movie which is just right for that
date with someone who’s just a friend. *Wink* We know.)
by Mohamad Shaifulbahri