It’s very possible that most of you reading this haven’t even heard of the 2005 comedy Just Friends. It holds a measly 42% Rotten Tomatoes score and it didn’t even rank in the top five films at the box office the weekend it opened. Although my love for the film is strong, I hesitated to suggest it to Robert for a Favorite Scene Friday. That turned out to be a dumb call on my part though, because as I should have known, my movie twin responded back promptly with “That would be awesome! I love that movie.” Our bond grows stronger every day.
Just Friends stars a few notable names including Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Klein, and Ryan Reynolds in the lead role. You remember early career, post-Van Wilder Reynolds, right? Where his roles were tailor made for his boyish charm and deadpan hilarious comedic timing. Well maybe audiences had grown tired of his shtick by the time Just Friends had rolled around and the actor himself certainly seemed turned off by it (Friends marked his last starring comedy role aside from The Proposal and The Change Up.) - but I never experienced such an aversion. And while I continue to think double R is an impressive actor that winds up in shitty movies, I still yearn for the day when he will pop up, if only for a moment, as the former sardonic funnyman.
I had no intention of writing that much about Ryan Reynolds. Moving on then…
Okay, so the movie starts off following a chubby high schooler named Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds…yes…) that is stuck in friend zone hell with his best bud Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart). After an embarrassing post-graduation falling out, he abandons Jamie and moves to LA. Over the years, Brander sheds the extra pounds, works hard to gain a shiny career as a record producer and transforms his nice guy image into desirable womanizer. Now present day, Chris is tasked with traveling and watching over “star” talent Samantha James (Anna Faris), an overproduced, over sexualized, completely vapid pop star. He reluctantly does so but things are further complicated when the duo’s plane is forced to land in his New Jersey home town. While reconnecting with his family and eventually Jamie, Chris soon falls back into his old ways and learns that he may not have changed very much after all.
There are a lot of parts that I find downright hysterical in Just Friends. Most are moments or lines coming from Faris’ Samantha character but I also get a kick out of Reynolds chemistry with his younger brother Mike, played by Christopher Maquette. So when I picked a scene from the film, I skipped over my actual favorite favorite scene (a scene at a small town bar where Faris is so over the top funny I can’t handle it) for a scene that features the best of both assets. Also, the YouTuber that posted the video kind of nailed it with his title.
Setting the scene: Young bro Mike was supposed to be escorting Samantha around town when she accidentally falls over a second story banister at a mall (yes, it’s that kind of flick.) This is what Chris comes home to:
I don’t know how well the scene works out of context, but I find everyone here just too damn enjoyable. Anna Faris is completely zonked out and stupid-stupendous. Did you see the way she delivered that blueberry line? Classic. Moreover, you get to see one of my favorite interactions between the brothers. The sibling rivalry continues throughout the film to similar results but some of the noises Maquette utters during the wrestling never fails to give me the giggles. Really any time he screams during the movie, I’m on the ground.
With Just Friends, it’s not so much the jokes written on the page as much as it’s the actors performing them. It might sit with you, it might not - but for what it’s worth, I think the movie could make for a passable substitution for the overplayed Christmas movies you might find surrounding you this holiday season. Give it a chance if you’re looking for something new.