out of Five
Running time: 96
Enjoyable romcom that overcomes its occasionally uneven tone with some hilarious set-pieces and strong comic performances from its cast.
What’s it all about?
The film opens in 1995 with shy, overweight high school student Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) declaring his love for his best friend Jamie Palomino (Amy Smart) at a graduation party. Unfortunately it backfires and Chris is humiliated when Jamie gives him the just good friends
speech in front of everyone.
Flash forward ten years and Chris has reinvented himself as a slim, successful, smooth-talking record executive. After unexpectedly finding himself back in his home town, he sets about trying to undo the past by romancing Jamie.
The film’s biggest strength is its universally relatable theme of how it’s almost impossible to escape the friend zone and convert friendship to romance. The script explores this idea surprisingly well while still managing to cram in a series of increasingly hilarious physical comedy set-pieces.
Reynolds’ brand of sarcastic humour suits his part well, whilst Smart is as adorable here as she was in The Butterfly Effect. However, Anna Faris steals the film with her wildly thinly-veiled yet wildly over-the-top Paris Hilton impression.
The main problem with the film is that the tone is extremely uneven in places.Some of the humour is unnecessarily cruel and these jokes tend to fall flat. Similarly the comic potential of Klein’s character is more or less wasted whilst Jamie seems to behave differently from scene to scene. One minute she’s outraged at Chris’s behaviour, the next she’s inviting herself over for the night, etc.
In short, Just Friends is silly and forgettable, but it delivers several big laughs and is worth seeing for its set-pieces and comic performances.
Just Friends (12A)