Chris Brander (Reynolds) was a shy, overweight teen whose enduring friendship with Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart), a popular cheerleader and the hottest girl in school, was the highlight of his high school career. On the night of their graduation, Chris finally worked up the courage to share his feelings – his secret love for his best friend. In response, Jamie told him that she loved him… like a brother. Enraged and humiliated, Chris declared them no longer friends and stormed off. Fast forward ten years, as the smooth-talking, fit and successful music executive Chris Brander gets stranded in his New Jersey hometown with a superstar singer he is trying to sign to his record label. He finds himself reunited with his high school crush – the “just friends” girl – and decides to undo the past. This sets off a chain of events in which Chris attempts to woo Jamie, all the while trying to distract the psychotic singer he has in tow. Interestingly, Chris finds that romancing Jamie has not gotten any easier!
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the slapstick comedy, Just Friends. Based on a concept that is by no means “new ground” the comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Amy Smart was surprisingly funny and enjoyable. The premise is somewhat predictable- Ryan Reynolds plays the bubbly, overweight “BFF” of Amy Smart only to leave town directly after their high school graduation to return ten years later as a thin, womanizing L.A. record executive who name drops such acts as P. Diddy, Jay Z and Mick Jagger. What wasn’t quite as predictable is the hilarity that increased in frequency and intensity as the movie progressed. Just Friends truly was a pleasant surprise, and performances by Ryan Reynolds, Chris Klein and Anna Faris, who plays the Ashlee Simpson-esque and self-proclaimed “artist” Ashley James all provide memorable, gut-busting performances. All that’s required of the viewer is for you to sit back, remove your thinking caps and let the laughter ensue.
Review by Emma Loggins