Just Friends

on November 23, 2005 by Tim Cogshell
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"Just Friends" is an utterly ordinary romantic comedy from its title down to its soundtrack (which includes a song called "Just Friends"), yet it still manages to be charming, funny and romantic. This is mostly on the strength of its cast, who are all appropriately lovely and empathetic, however trite they also are.

The film begins in 1995, New Jersey: Chris (Ryan Reynolds, hiding those "Amityville" abs under latex) is a fat, affable kid in love with his best friend, Jamie ("Road Trip's" Amy Smart). After a humiliating episode involving the school jock reading Chris' devotional in Jamie's yearbook, he is further crushed when she tells him that it's best if they remain... just friends.

Fast-forward 10 years and Chris is a hunky music executive and charming womanizer who always breaks hearts before they can break his. Through a completely contrived set of happenstances, Chris ends up stranded back in hometown with a spoiled pop-star ("Lost in Translation's" Anna Faris) in tow, and the love of his life in his swarthy sights. Whatever will happen? Nothing that's not expected, that's for sure. Yet despite revisiting every romantic comedy archetype ever conceived, "Just Friends" still manages to entertain. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris and Chris Klein. Directed by Roger Kumble. Written by Adam "Tex" Davis. Produced by Chris Bender, William J. Johnson, Michael Ohoven, J.C. Spink and William Vince. A New Line release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for sexual content including some dialogue. Running time: 96 min

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