March 11, 2013
Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart,
Anna Faris, and Chris Klein
And now we come to a first.
Friends is the first movie on this list that I actually had no
intention of including on my countdown. In fact, up until
ago I had never even seen it before. In even more fact, up
two months ago, I had never even HEARD of it before. This is
of those movies that came out between the years 2001-2006 when (because
my wife and I were raising babies) I really didn't ever go to a movie
theater. It fell smack dab in the middle of my dead zone when
had no idea what was going on in the world of movies.
Well naturally, you know what happened next. The
minute I started posting my "200 Underloved Movies" countdown, friends
of mine and readers of mine began flinging movie recommendations
at me left and right. All of a sudden movies I had never
before came hurtling my way. "Hey watch this, it's awesome."
"Hey you will love
that, it's quirky." "Hey check this out, I am the only person
likes it but
I bet you will too." "Hey watch this, it stars Burt
Reynolds as a
black voodoo priest."
I have been posting this list
two months now, and you should see how many recommendations I have
received from my readers. In fact, at this point I think my
list is up to about a hundred. And I am trying my best to
every one of them. Because, you know, every so often you
onto a movie that you had never heard of before, but you see for the
first time and you think is just awesome. And that is
Discoveries like that are the reason why people watch movies in the
Well this week I hit the first reader recommendation that I really
friend Michael Feeney wrote to me about four weeks ago. He
that I had written that I was a Chris Klein fan in my Election
review, and he mentioned to me, "Hey if you like Chris Klein you
should really check out a movie called Just Friends. He plays
amazing douchebag boyfriend. In fact, he has made a nice
career playing douchebag boyfriends the last couple of years.
Just Friends is probably the best of them."
Hmm, well now this was
interesting. See, I had never heard of Just Friends before.
In fact, I looked it up on IMDB and nothing in its
looked even remotely familiar to me. Ryan Reynolds?
Smart? Anna Faris? Chris Klein? Wow,
sounds like a
murderer's row of B-level romantic comedy actors. Sounds like
winner. I mean, come on, Julie Hagerty as the kid's mom?
Julie Hagerty from
AIRPLANE? Where did they dig her up? I haven't see
Hagerty in a movie in more than twenty years.
said it was a funny movie. And he is the guy who once
Arrested Development to me, and now that is one of my all time
favorite shows. And I am more than happy to see what Chris
Klein looks like as a scummy douchebag boyfriend. So I rented
Netflix last weekend, and my wife and I sat down to watch it and I gave
it a chance.
since I am writing about Just Friends on my countdown, I am sure you
what I thought of it. I LOVED it. And it is funny
wasn't really expecting to. This is a theme that you will
over and over if you go down and you read the IMDB user reviews that I
posted below, by the way, that is the reaction that a lot of people
have to this movie. Like most people, I expected it to just
silly little forgettable
romantic comedy. That is exactly what it looks like from the
menu and the trailer and the cast list. Yay, it's got Ryan
Reynolds in a fat suit
and he gets to play a fat guy. He gets to play the fat guy
tries to get the hot girl.
But nope. That isn't what this movie is like at all.
Just Friends started, I found myself laughing. And I never
myself NOT laughing. I found myself smiling or even chuckling
loud almost throughout the entire movie. And what is funny is
that I heard my wife laughing at pretty much the entire movie too.
And we almost NEVER like the same type of comedy.
of that, I suspect this is one of those rare movies that I bet
almost anyone would find funny.
Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit, who basically looks like if Jonah Hill and
anybody had a baby
Just Friends is the story of a guy named Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds).
high school, Chris was a fat guy. You know the type.
the sad fat guy who spent most of his time alone in his room, thinking
about girls. Thinking about girls he could never get.
Thinking about cute girls. Pining for them.
particular, he pined for his best friend Jamie (Amy Smart).
naturally, was the hottest girl in school, and who, naturally, hung out
with him all the time.
And, because this is the way
it kind of works in the real world, had long ago put Chris
the dreaded "friend zone."
I'm so glad we're friends. I don't know what I'd do
without your friendship.
Jamie thinks of Chris as a friend. But Chris
didn't want to be a friend, he wants to hook up with her. He
just doesn't know how to do it.
And, of course, since Chris is a
shy awkward fat kid with very little self esteem, there is very little
chance he is ever going to
get out of the friend zone.
long as the two of them are teenagers, as long as the two of them are
still stuck together in high school, he is always going to be trapped
here in sad lonely friend
Chris Brander, aka Johnny Blue Balls
At this point the movie
jumps ahead ten years. Chris is now 28 years old, and in the
ten years his life has managed to change significantly.
starters, he is no longer fat. Over the past ten years he has
figured out how nutrition works. And he has figured out how
exercise works. And he is now a wealthy young handsome music
producer living in Los Angeles.
the biggest difference in Chris now is with women. Because at
this point in his life, he
can get pretty much any woman that he wants. After
all, he's rich. He's handsome. He lives in
California. He works in the music industry. He's
When women in L.A. see the kind of money he is pulling down,
the kind of car that he drives, they practically throw themselves at
helps that, because of his disastrous experience with
Jamie in high school, Chris knows all too well that you never let a
put you into "the friend zone" anymore. He knows that, and he
never lets it happen. These days when he sees a woman that he
wants, he just moves right in for the kill.
Basically, now that Chris is handsome and he knows how the game works,
he is getting more ass than a toilet seat.
Even ass he doesn't particularly want
this is the premise of the movie. A fat kid grows up and
slims down, and he is a hit with women now, but he still thinks about
his best friend that
had never been able to hook up with back in high school. It
haunts him that he had never been able to... shall we say... close
escrow with that one.
And this sets the stage for Chris winding up back in
his hometown in New Jersey for Christmas.
don't want to give away too much of the movie, since I enjoyed it so
much the first time and I bet you will too. But you can
much guess what happens from here. Chris the successful music
producer goes home for Christmas,
and he runs into Jamie. And he immediately decides
that this time
he is going to seal the deal and he is going to hook up with her.
Unfortunately, he finds that hooking up with Jamie is going
to be a lot more difficult than he thought it would be.
Because there are certain obstacles in his way.
first obstacle that he runs into is yes, you guessed it. The
this movie was recommended to me. Her douchebag boyfriend
Chris Klein plays a sensitive young man named Dusty
Dinkelman. And, well, Jamie LOVES Dusty. I mean,
wouldn't love Dusty? I mean the guy plays the guitar.
guy writes love poetry. The guy volunteers at a hospital and
charity work with old people. The guy leads a children's
at church and quotes verse about Jesus.
How could anyone possibly not love Dusty?
Dusty singing one of his love songs
comes home for Christmas and he realizes that he has competition for
Jamie's affection. He has competition from Dusty.
you can imagine, is really not all that he appears to be. He
just playing the the exact same type of game that Chris is.
He is playing a role and trying to stay out of the friend
The only problem is that Dusty just happens to be a lot better at it.
Whoops, wrong movie. But same deal.
If Chris Klein was a gay porn star he would be Dusty Bottoms
that is the first problem that Chris faces. He will never be
to hook up with Jamie because Dusty has already gotten there.
Dusty is really good at this.
problem that Chris faces is one of regression. You
minute he came home, Chris has sort of started to regress.
will be an unfamiliar concept to anyone reading this who is under the
age of 20, but it is kind of a simple fact of life that if you ever
come back to your childhood home when you are an adult, you will
inevitably regress into the teenager you once were. That's
just the way that it works. The minute you set foot in the
house you grew up
in, you immediately turn back into a teenager.
And unfortunately that is exactly what happens to Chris.
minute he gets back into his childhood home, it doesn't matter that he
is now CHRIS BRANDER MILLIONAIRE HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER. It
matter that he now owns a giant mansion in Beverly Hills, or that he
sleeps with hundreds of women a year. No, the minute he sets
foot in his
childhood bedroom, he once again becomes Chris Brander the fat kid who
never had a
chance with Jamie. He turns back into the teenager who has
fights every ten minutes with his brother.
And this is
where most of the humor in the movie comes in. It
regressing to what his life was like back when he was a teenager.
are some other subplots in the movie that help drive the story
In particular there is one involving Anna Faris as a self
centered pop star who Chris is supposed to be escorting on a trip to
Paris. But I never got much out of that storyline.
mean, Anna Faris is funny and all, and most of the scenes involving her
in the movie are
funny (the toothpaste scene in particular made me laugh). But
Anna's storyline is more or less a distraction from the rest of the
movie. To me the real movie here is Chris regressing into his
pathetic teenage self, and Chris not having a prayer of trying to
sensitive guitar playing Dusty.
Oh, and of course the slap fights between Chris and
his little brother. To me those are the highlight of the
In fact when Feeney recommended this movie to me that was
what he pointed out. He said that the fights between the two
brothers are hilarious. And he was right.
I am actually
going to go back and rewatch Just Friends this weekend, just
because I want to watch all the slap fights between the two brothers
again. They are really funny. I haven't seen
slapstick that funny in a movie in a long time.
Chris about one second before he beats the shit out of his little
in all, this is one of those recommendations that I am thrilled I
received. I had never heard of Just Friends before, it just
completely out of the blue, and I watched it
and loved it.
So if you have any more recommendations you think belong on
this list, please send them in.
If I watch one and I like it I will probably write about it.
Especially if it includes a hockey fight against children
I still can't figure out where they dug Julie Hagerty up for this
movie. I mean, I have always been a big fan of hers. I loved
in Airplane and I loved her in Lost in America (which I will be writing
about soon, so get ready). But I thought she had
pretty much retired
from movies about twenty years ago. I love that she just
randomly shows up as Mrs. Brander in
Just Friends. And of course I love that she is still funny.
It has been at least two decades since the last time I have
seen her in a movie, but she just randomly shows up in this one as the
mom and she actually steals a couple of scenes. I
guess the legends never die.
It's a damn good thing you don't know how much she hates your guts
The lesson to be learned here? Julie Hagerty
should really be in more movies.
favorite IMDB user reviews about Just Friends:
Unexpectedly hilarious -
25 December 2007
be honest I wasn't expecting much from this film, I didn't recognise
any of the actors and I was just in the mood for some rom-com generic
stuff cos it's Christmas Day and I'm bored! But this film actually made
me laugh out loud, beating Knocked Up, Hot Fuzz etc EASILY! People seem
to find the song at the beginning (not a spoiler!) the funniest bit,
but if you don't, don't be discouraged, keep watching, it gets better
and better. I laughed like a donkey at some of the later scenes.
fantastic comic performances from Chris Klein, Christopher Marquette,
especially in the scenes between the brothers, they had great
chemistry, and finally Ryan Reynolds, because he carried this movie,
and I hate the Notebook!
This is my first review, and the fact
that I've bothered to write one to convince you to go see it totally
proves that this is a film worth seeing!
under the radar - 3
lot of movies fly under the radar and end up crashing and burning
....usually for good reason. Just Friends isn't one of those although
this one not only flew under the radar but was darn near invisible.
Like many others we came upon this one by chance and we're glad we did.
Yes it gets a little mopey and predictable at the end but only certain
movies can actually make you feel like you were there saying the same
stupid things to those same people you most wanted to impress. The
acting was certainly a cut above other flicks of the same genre and it
makes one wonder just where the heck are these people now? All in all
it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I wouldn't hesitate to
recommend this little gem to anyone.
A comic gem - 22 April
is the most hilarious movie since The In-laws with Peter Falk and Alan
Arkin. Since it is the story of a fat guy whose goes back to win his
high school crush, you think it will be a somewhat predictable plot,
but it isn't. Every scene has you busting out laughing, helplessly. I
raised 5 sons and the interplay between the brothers is spot on. One
scene where Ryan Reynolds is on the phone and first his mother and then
his brother get on the extension and start talking to him happened at
our house to my oldest son. Best of all was the hockey game and
aftermath. Ryan Reynolds has absolutely perfect comic timing and his
facial expressions are priceless. Happy romantic endings are always
Dinkleman is freakin
hilarious - 21 June 2008
thought this movies was pretty darn good but Chris Klein made it for
me. I like him in American Pie and American Pie 2 but for the most part
I thought some of his other movies are pretty lame. Rollerball anyone?
I never saw him playing a character like this but his character really
made the movie for me. Obviously Amy Smart and Ryan Reynolds are good
but Klein's scenes had me reeling. "Anybody wanna sing xmas carols to
celebrate the birth of our lord"? Freakin hilarious. Overall this
movies was alright but Dinkleman will go right up there as one of the
most well played douchebags in movies. Anyways, I enjoyed the movie and
would recommend it to someone who wants a laugh. Also, Ryan Reynold's
brother who has been in other stuff (just can't think of the movies
right now) was also really good.
Hilarious all the way
through - 5 December 2005
you laughed plenty at Wedding Crashers and Old School, you'll love this
one too. I never put my two bits in on a review but to see this with a
5.6 rating is beyond me. The fact that I have to write ten lines of
text here just to express my opinion is also beyond me but hey, rules
I have to step up and say something for a movie that
more than deserves kudos. Ryan Reynolds is spot on and the supporting
cast steps up as well. I'd say Anna Faris almost steals the show as his
bumbling bimbo client who he gets stuck with in his home town.
say I didn't go with any expectations but to be honest, I don't think
it matters. This movie is brutally funny and I laughed the whole way
through and the whole way out of the theater. My sides were in stitches
which is a rarity in the crap comedies Hollywood has been serving up
these days. This is a great holiday movie, a great date movie and just
a plain all out laugh fest. About 200 people in the theater agreed as
opposed to most of the reviewers on here who must have been born with a
stick up their...
Comedy for the sake of
Comedy - 15 November 2010
Friends' surprised me off the bat with its' great cast, off-the-wall
antics and comic proficiency. Personally, I am somewhat of a purist
when it comes to humor; I watch comedies to laugh, nothing more. 'Just
Friends' serves that purpose with utmost effectiveness. The quality of
the humor is almost spoof-like. The jokes are loud, colorful, and zany,
with the comic timing to match. Fans of David Zucker and similar
film-makers will be pleased. Of course, to make a movie so effectively
funny, something else must suffer; the plot and the progression of the
movie is arguably weak. However it leaves nothing to be desired. Like I
said, I watch a comedy to laugh, and in that regard plot is not
important. It is almost heartwarming sometimes to watch this film and
be entertained on such a pure and uninhibited level. The creators of
this movie really want to make you laugh and feel good, and that's what
a good comedy oughta be about. If you are like me and just want to
laugh, put 'Just Friends' on the top of your "To-See" list.
Very Pleasant Surprise -
9 April 2006
I'll be honest. When my pal said, "I've brought a good movie for a
laugh." The first thing that went through my head, looking at the
cover, was 'another boring chick flick'. BOY was I wrong. I swear at
some points in this movie I did almost wet myself a little bit. Now, I
am not the type of person who sees a film that makes me giggle a bit
and then decide that because i laughed a lot, its a great movie. I'm
not. I just love the fact that the situations are so real. Everyone can
relate to the topic and the humour comes from genuine original
slapstick, the likes of which I haven't seen done this well since "meet
the parents", and of course 100% certified fresh young comedians of
Characters: Ryan Reynolds is fantastic in everything he
does. Although I imagine he's a "love him or hate him" kind of actor
(very similar to Jim Carrey, although I have never laughed as hard at
Jim Carrey as I do with Ryan). His completely inimitable way of
delivering these comic lines combined with raw physical performances
that would put Jim Carrey to shame just gets me in the funny bone every
Anna Farris I have always been wary of. It's a big gamble
starting your mainstream career in "Scary Movie" which is an obvious
typecast. However, Anna's performance is excellent. She really takes
that role and just when you think she can't shock you any more, she
Amy Smart doesn't really have a comedic role to play in
this movie, which is a shame because as a comedic actress she really is
quite something and pleasantly surprised me with her performance as the
insane helicopter pilot in "Rat Race". Amy is the normality check in
the movie when the other characters are getting a bit too crazy (I
often find that insanity ruins good comedy).
plays Ryan's brother. Somebody give this guy a medal. The play fighting
that goes on between Chris and Ryan is the greatest on screen chemistry
I have seen in a long time. You do really link to and believe the
Chris Klein. Chris used to bore me. I though he
was your standard pretty boy actor that could get away with an
unchallenging side role in a comedy (American Pie), but this movie
changed all that for me. I'm actually smiling here just remembering
some of the faces he pulls during this movie.
To wrap up... If
you're a Ryan Reynolds fan or like a feel good movie or just plain want
to see something funny, then don't miss this film. It guarantees a
giggle or 2 and really leaves you feeling great. I loved it.
favorite quotes from Just Friends:
I need my skates to show off my talents!
[Starts dialing while Chris is on the phone] Joyce? Joyce?
I'm on the phone.
Chris? What are you doing over at Joyce's?
Mom, I'm in the living room ten feet away from you, and I'm on the
Oh. Well, while I have you on the phone, dear, what would you like for
dinner? We have a choice between chicken chow mein or potroast.
We need to talk about what you wrote. Is that really how you feel?
don't know. Maybe. Why?
Jamie Palamino: Because
that's the nicest thing anyone's ever written me.
Yes. I love you Chris...
[goes to kiss him. Chris goes for her lips and she moves to his cheek]
.. like a brother!
We're friends right?
I think she left you hanging.
probably just an important businees call. Get off the phone.
the bar ran out of curly fries?
off the phone!
So that's why she went with Dusty. She wants a sensitive guy... more
like the old me. Well, if she wants Mr. Rogers, then I'm going to show
her the biggest pussy she's ever seen.
[messages left on voicemail]
Hey Chris, it's Samantha. I talked to my sponsor and I owe you an
It's Samantha. Call me!
Hello Joyce? Joyce?
favorite scene in Just Friends:
Any of the slap fights between Ryan Reynolds and his little brother
are just classic. I can't imagine how much fun those two guys
were having when they were making this movie.
at the IMDB
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Movies That Deserve More Love