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She's no ordinary girl
on June 27, 2006
At a high school graduation party, overweight Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) attempts to reveal his true feelings for his best friend Jamie Palomino (Amy Smart), but ends up making an utter fool of himself. What's worse, his humiliation takes place in front of his jeering teenage peers. A decade later, Chris has become a success story. He is now thin, prosperous, is a hit with girls, and works as an executive in the music industry. His latest assignment is escorting wacky starlet/pop princess and ex-flame Samantha James (Anna Faris) to Paris, France. But their plane has to make an unscheduled landing in Jersey, Chris's high school home. Rationally, Chris and Samantha decide to stay at his old house. Chris has a reunion with his former buddies, including the winsome Jamie, who immediately rekindles that old spark within Chris. The remainder of the film concerns Chris's efforts to make Jamie see him as more than a friend, while simultaneously fending off the warped Samantha. Competition comes in the form of a former fellow nerd turned sensitive guy Dusty Dinkleman (Chris Klein).
Just Friends is a very funny, feel-good movie. Ryan Reynolds is a hoot as a brash L.A. stud who disastrously channels his inner dweeb whenever he's around unrequited love Jamie. Ryan is really excellent with physical comedy. There are scenes with him that are just uproarious (case in point, the aftermath of his politically incorrect hockey game with the kids). I even enjoyed his frequent Three Stooges encounters with his kid brother (Chris Marquette). And when he has to, Ryan steps outside the slapstick and layers in a deeper nuanced, more introspective performance. I ended up rooting for Chris, even though he was overly cocky and big-timed his home town folks. And then there's Amy Smart, who seemingly can do no wrong. There's just something so lovable and natural about her. She embodies the type of girl every guy would want to be with. Anna Faris's turn as the unstable Samantha adds to the already boisterous feel of the film. Samantha actually scares me. Chris Klein's Dusty, Chris's guitar-playing, song-writing rival, is disgustingly touchy-feely. One would wish that a different sort of arc for Dusty's character had been laid out; the script writer, in my eyes, sold out and made things too convenient for Chris, with regards to Dusty. Julie Hagerty (Airplane!) has a goofy supporting role as Chris's mom.
The special features are tasty:
- a filmmakers' film commentary
- "Tales from the Friend Zone" featurette (the cast & crew talk about real life "just friends" experiences)
- "Developing Just Friends" featurette (wherein we learn of the script's 7 year odyssey and how, originally, Chris didn't get the girl at the end)
- "A Director's Guide to Comedy" featurette
- "The Transformation" featurette (about Ryan's fat face make-up)
- "The Body Shake" featurette (the awkwardness of when you're dropping off a date; do you hug or kiss?)
- "It's Friggin' Cold" featurette (the cast & crew basically complaining about how cold the shooting was)
- "A Writer's Journey" featurette (focus on script writer Adam "Tex" Davis)
- "A Disaster in the Making" featurette (about the making of the Palomino house X-mas decor and its eventual fate)
- "The Reshoots" featurette (the making of the eventual ending of the film, which wasn't the original ending)
- a so-so blooper reel
- deleted scenes
- an alternate ending (this was the initially intended ending; you could see why they changed it)
- an amusing "Jamie Smiles" video
- theatrical trailer
So, try out this movie. It'll make you smile and laugh and even feel nostalgic because, let's face it: just like me, you've been in Chris's position before, too.