Retro Review: Just Friends

Ever since he burst onto the scene in the sitcom “Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place”, Ryan Reynolds has been an untapped talent. He proved his comedic talents for the big screen in the forgotten, “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” and even flexed his dramatic muscles in the remake of the horror film, “The Amityville Horror”.

So why does hardly anyone know who he is? People will refer to him as “the former Mr. Morrisette” or that guy from that horrible “Blade” sequel or the guy who married Scarlett Johansson!

Well I am here to say remember this guy’s name because one day this guy is going to be as recognized as a Jim Carrey or a Will Smith.

Sadly, “Just Friends” probably isn’t the vehicle to launch Ryan Reynolds mainstream but it’s definitely worth a look.

Reynolds plays Chris, a former over-weight high school dweeb who has never really gotten over his high school sweetheart, Jamie (Amy Smart). Chris has tried to push his quaint New Jersey upbringing behind him but fate brings him back to his hometown during the holidays.

You see, Chris is now a successful record producer and he is trying to sign the next big pop-tartlet (ala the next Britney Spears) to a contract.

Peppy Samantha James (Anna Faris) is crazy in all sense of the word and she makes Chris’s life a living hell but Chris is determined to sign her. To make matters worse, they used to sleep together.

Chris ends up in his hometown, during the holidays with “nightmare princess” in tow. Will Chris be able to make amends? How does Jamie look after all these years? Does Chris still have feelings for this hometown girl?

“Just Friends” is a great little comedy that at times can get way out of hand but for the most part it’s a lot of fun.

Reynolds is brilliant when he is playing his character in the “fat-suit”. The opening sing-a-long to “I Swear!” will leave you gasping for breath as you laugh so hard.

Reynolds does have his moments as the reformed Chris but for the most part he is reacting to the scene-stealing performance from Anna Faris, who is the soul reason you will howl during this flick. She is unbelievably funny in this role.

The problems I had with the film were some of the jokes went way too far and kept going like the “taser” scenes.

I also felt that Amy Smart and Chris Klein were just playing the same old characters we have seen them play before. How many times can we watch Amy Smart playing the sweet hometown girl?

Sure, Klein’s character is a little different than some of the guys he has played before but then why are all of his performances photo-copies of every performance he has ever done. Think was there really a difference between Chris Klein’s performances in “Rollerball” and “American Pie”. Thought not.

I liked “Just Friends” a lot because of the chemistry between Faris and Reynolds. For their performances alone, this flick is worth a look.

3.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

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