Reynolds and Smart are BFF
Sometimes big movie critics get it wrong and "Just Friends" is one of those movies which I feel that some of those well known critics did get it wrong. Let's be frank "Just Friends" is just another romantic comedy which tries to blend a few tender moments with a lot of comedy and occasional crudeness but whilst it's not very original and borders on the crass it does what it sets out to do and that is make you laugh, nothing more nothing less.
As a chubby teenager Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds - Definitely Maybe) hoped that his friendship with Jamie (Amy Smart - Crank) would turn into more, but unfortunately for him Jamie only wanted to be friends. 10 years later and Chris is now handsome, slim, a successful LA music manager and can have any woman he wishes for. But when travelling with pop princess Samantha James (Anna Faris - My Super Ex-Girlfriend) to Paris their plane is forced to land at Trenton near his childhood home and he suddenly finds his feelings for Jamie re-emerging when he bumps into her in a bar.
The storyline to "Just Friends" is pretty simple as well as formulaic as it covers a friendship/romance between childhood friends having been reunited after 10 years. There's no complexity to it as we watch Chris getting teased as a chubby teenager only to return after 10 years having become slim, successful and quite shallow when it comes to women leading to the obvious rekindling of feelings he has towards Jamie. But whilst not complex it does have a nice touch as it plays on the how can friends be anymore than just that, friends. Don't get me wrong as "Just Friends" doesn't explore this idea in any sort of depth but it lays way to plenty of humour.
Again the humour side of "Just Friends" is not overly original and almost obvious as jokes turn up when you pretty much expect them. But even so the jokes work to make you laugh whether it's right to laugh at chubby Chris wearing a terrible T-Shirt or singing along to "I Swear" by All-4-One. It occasionally borders on the crude and crass with an ice hockey scene featuring Chris demolishing young children to prove he is better than he appears, but then it also has the good sense for Chris to get him comeuppance, it balances these crude jokes so whilst they may not be that funny they are fair.
Adding to the comedy is Anna Faris as delusional Pop Princess Samantha James whose inappropriate behaviour and often accident prone ways causes more laughs. In fact that whilst many of Faris's scenes border on the overly manufactured, as does her character, watching her zonked out on painkillers, toothpaste frothing in her mouth and an ice pack on her head is one of the movies funnier and quite freaky moments, it's the sort of scene which has to be seen to be believed.
Because "Just Friends" concentrates so much on the comedy that to say it's romantic would be a lie and in fact there is very little romance going on. It does have a few tenderish sort of moments such as when Chris and Jamie watch old videos of themselves having fun as teenagers but even when the expected ending crops up it's not some big moment of emotional romance rather than just there to give the movie a way to end on the happy ever after note.
What does sort of let "Just Friends" down is that whilst Anna Faris delivers plenty of laughs as pop princess Samantha James the rest of the characters are rather flat making you not really care for them. For the most Ryan Reynolds delivers his usual performance of being handsome, slightly shallow and so on but then in the scenes where he dons the fat suit he is surprisingly good delivering the comedy of it all perfectly. Alongside Reynolds is Amy Smart who is pleasant enough as Jamie but never stamps her mark on the character. Plus there is also Chris Klein who turns up as Dusty a one time school geek turned womanizer. None of these characters are really that great, just rather average.
What this all boils down to is that "Just Friends" is pretty average with a simple storyline, a blend of comedy which occasionally borders on the crude and characters which are frankly a little 2 dimension. But it does what it sets out to and that is entertain, make you laugh and feel that you had a fun time watching it. It's not brilliant nor is it bad, just another average rom-com aimed at the younger audience who will enjoy the various fat jokes.