Just Friends (2005)

The less said about the fat suit, the better

Since it is the month of Christmas, I have started watching a bunch of my old Christmas movies, which is going to lead to me posting some of my old reviews.  If they haven’t changed that much.  While I won’t go the full 5 that I originally did with this movie – mostly due to numerous pop culture references that are very 2005 – I still love it.

This movie was a victim of utterly terrible marketing decisions. If you’ve seen the poster, then you’ve seen Ryan Reynolds in his fat suit and you’d probably assume that the movie was something like Shallow Hal. You’d be wrong, as Just Friends is actually a good movie, one that doesn’t pull punches and doesn’t offer up a horribly contradictory premise as Hal did. Sadly, the entire premise behind this movie happens all the time to nice guys in high school, nice guys like me. *sniff*

This movie would be absolutely nothing without the chemistry that the cast has with each other. After previously working together on Waiting…, Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris pull together as a wonderfully complimentary comedic team with a movie that recognises their talents together and even exploits it. They both over-exaggerate their characters to an almost cartoonish level, but it seems believable because the rest of the movie is on that level. Faris adds another fantastic impersonation/caricature to her repertoire, and Reynolds plays a lovable dweeb that transforms into a womanizing, charismatic asshole, as well as losing the fat suit that’s barely in the movie.

In my opinion, Amy Smart is far better in her All-American girl next door roles, rather than her “look I can be dirty too” roles, and she proves me right with another loveable performance as the object of Chris’ (Reynolds) affections. This might also be the first movie where me wanting to punch out Chris Klein meant that he was actually good in his role. As well, there will never be enough said about the believably caustic relationship between Chris and Mike (Marquette). I’m not sure how funny Marquette would be away from the slap-happy Reynolds, but at least he’s got a girlish scream to fall back on. That has to be good for some sort of teen high school movie.

I could go on about the movie because it’s just so surprisingly good that it should have it’s virtues extolled as much as possible. Technically speaking, the movie looks alright, with the occasional big action scene or two actually making me laugh out loud. Despite the outlandishness of some of the events, the events that take place actually feel possible. This movie makes the ridiculous series of events that take place in Meet the Parents seem like a fairy tale. Maybe I’m just over-identifying with this movie because my 10 year high school reunion is coming up shortly (note: I went, and everybody had swelled), and I’m fantasizing daily that some hot girl that I was friends with in high school will see me in a new light (note: that did not happen). Either way, I loved this movie.

One final addition: though this movie takes place around the Holiday season, it’s mostly scene dressing and timing, not syruppy thick sentimentalities.

4 / 5

If you can't make fun of yourself, you're a terrible actor/actress


About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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