Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Just Friends

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content including some dialogue

Reviewed by: Evan D. Baltz

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romance Comedy
1 hr. 28 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 23, 2005 (wide)
Featuring: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Klein, Ty Olsson
Director: Roger Kumble
Producer: Chris Bender, J.C. Spink, Michael Ohoven
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
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Relationship information
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He loves her. She loves him not.

Have you ever wanted to date someone, but you were already good friends and found it difficult to move past that stage? It’s that fairly common dilemma the aptly titled comedy “Just Friends” addresses. It’s a middle-of-the-road kind of situation in a middle-of-the-road movie. Funny enough to make me laugh out loud numerous times; formulaic enough for me to want my relationship to the movie to stay just friends.

Chris (Ryan Reynolds) is a nice enough overweight guy who is best friends in high school with Jamie (Amy Smart). She sees them as friends. He would like the relationship to be more, but is unable to articulate that to her in high school. He vows that he will one day. Flash forward ten years and the now successful and much thinner recording studio talent coordinator returns to his home town for a brief stop and has the chance to once again try to further his relationship with Jamie. Unfortunately, he is faced with the extra baggage of having to baby-sit his label’s new star, Samantha James (Anna Faris), a Britney/Christina amalgam. He enlists his younger brother to keep her company while he courts his love interest Jamie.

The challenge increases as he competes against another former high-school suitor, loser turned nice-guy, Dusty Dinkleman (Chris Klein). Chris’s plans continually derail as he makes one misstep after another, including a scene in which Jamie’s parent’s house, adorned for Christmas in a fashion that would have Clark Griswald jealous, ends up looking like the final scene to “Apocalypse Now”.

Ryan Reynolds’ comedic timing and facial expressions are generally quite good. His interaction with his brother and June Cleaver-esque mother is particularly funny and even sweet at times—as is his relationship with his high school sweetheart Jamie. However, the relationship seems a little forced and fairly predictable. But then again, I doubt anyone was expecting “Wuthering Heights”.

For what it attempts to be, I think “Just Friends” succeeds. It doesn’t stoop to the level of some of the years other comedies, in that it doesn’t contain any nudity or usage of the f-word. But it does run over at the mouth in the usage of quite a few other foul words, including an inordinate and unnecessary number of usages of the Lord’s name in vain—some 20 odd variations. There are also two brief scenes, played for comedy, of a girl kissing a girl and a guy kissing a guy.

This movie isn’t for kids. Being that the characters in the story are about 28, I would guess that is the general target audience. The music and themes would be ones most people in that age group could relate to. It seemed the guys in the audience were laughing out loud more than the girls, so that may say something about the movie’s sense of humor.

In real life, it is important to build long-term relationships built on friendship. That friendship should continue throughout married life. I think the main characters in the movie do realize that having a great friendship is something worthwhile, and if a romantic relationship is to develop overtime, it will, without forcing it.

“Just Friends” is nothing particularly special, but does have a few good laughs, and less crudeness than previous offerings this year, but still would be better in a slightly cleaned up version on TV in a few years. It’s probably the kind of movie that will make the TBS holiday season rotation. So as for this film, I’d prefer to just stay friends, and not go any further.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None

Viewer Comments
Negative—I was surprised and disappointed by the amount of offensive material in this movie. I just want to warn people after the prior good reviews this movie recieved. They say GD (the whole word), Jesus, other curse words, and then intermingle it all with a lot of sexually explicit humor. 40% of the jokes were offensive. The movie had some funny parts, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the lingering offensive statements and visuals that are lodged in my head now—sorry to say. I was really hopeful this was going to be more fun.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3½
—Dawn, age 32
Positive—Spectacular, mind blowing, moving and inspiring are NOT the words to describe the new comedy “Just Friends.” However, hysterical, side aching, rolling out of my seat romantic comedy is exactly how I would describe the movie. “Just Friends” tells the story of a man named Chris (Ryan Reynolds of Blade and Van Wilder) who was the heavy nerd in high school who is in love with his best friend Jamie (Amy Smart of the Butterfly Effect). After suffering the horror of his true confession of his love for her, not being returned, he is destined to change his appearance and become the opposite of who he is. We fast forward into the present, where has lost all of his weight and is now the ultimate hunk who can get any girl he wants, has the great career in the music production field and makes lots of money. He is asked by his boss to land a contract with one of his ex flings, Samantha James (Anna Farris of Sin City) who is the latest and greatest, wild and crazy new rock artist.

Anna Farris steals the show playing the Courtney Lovesque rock star with the most insane antics. I mean I have never laughed harder in my life than watching Anna Farris in this role. From beginning to end, she plays the ultimate self absorbed, affection crazed, overly secure, vengeful, psychopath. While on a trip to Paris, the plane that is carrying both Ryan Chris and Samantha, is forced to take a emergency stop in New Jersey, which happens to be his home town. Where is comes back to see his family for the night and pops in on his old love interest. He has been gone for 10 years and now has the ego of someone who is the biggest Player in the women game.

Chris is destined to get to know his old friend and possibly win her affection in return, but just for the sport and not really for the love of it all. His competition, Dusty is played by non other than Chris Cline from the American Pie series and well he turns out to be quite the interesting guy.

Although this movie is pretty predictable, it serves up the perfect date flick. Sometimes predictability is great when it turns out the way you want. I mean what do you want, for him not to get the girl, for him not to change, for the ending to be a total bummer. Give me a break. Sometimes predictability is a good thing. What also makes this movie work is the fact that it is cast perfectly. The perfect couple, the perfect mother image, the perfect brother image and the perfect rocker.

OK, you can shoot me now for saying this but if I could give an Academy Award for a show stealer, I would give one to Anna Farris. She could not have been better and she could not have made me laugh harder. Also pay special attention to the brotherly love and war that both Chris and his brother have. It is just awesome how they can just about kill each other and then pull the ultimate one liner, “love ya man, wanna cookie” and then walk away. Then out of nowhere, SMACK right in the head.

I completely expected this movie to be “OK” but it ended up being the funniest movie of the year if not one of the funniest movies I have seen in a decade. This movie is a perfect substitute for the American Pie series. We leave out the f-words, leave out the nudity and leave out the compulsive sexual jokes and you have “Just Friends” with humor that cracks you up without being dirty 24/7. That is not to say that this movie does not have dirty humor, because it certainly does. There is a lot of talk about getting laid, although in a manner to look demeaning and wrong. The movie also has its fair share of bad language, so I would not recommend this for kids at all. But if you are out for a good date movie with your wife and you don’t mind some raunch, then this movie is the perfect flick.

WARNING: There is NO sex or nudity in this movie, however it does have its fair share of dirty humor and references. The movie also has some pretty vulgar language as well. I could not recommend this movie for those under 17 and an R might have been a better fit. Some of the language is pretty graphic, even though do not use F bombs. …
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—John Kehrli, age 31
Neutral—Even though this movie was funny, I found this film offensive the whole way through. There were content swear words and sexual jokes. The one thing that was great is that no one had sex in this film. There are two girls kissing and two gay guys kissing which did not need to be in the film. This movie is also very random. Odd things happen out of nowhere! …All in all, not the best film to see this Christmas.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Tiffany, age 25
Negative—I invited my parents and took my thirteen year old daughter to see “Just Friends,” thinking with a PG-13 rating, it would be a decent movie for all our age groups. What a mistake! This movie should have easily been rated “R” for foul sexual humor (i.e., “Did you boink her yet?” said AT LEAST 5 times), if not X-RATED for the poster of the “mind as well been naked” pop star, who was shown in a sexual act type pose, with various dessert items. The movie was hilarious and did not need ANY of the sick, inappropriate humor to make it a great movie. It had a great (predictable) story and a funny main actor but I left feeling gross and ashamed I sat through it, hoping no one I knew saw me leaving from that movie. If any one (Christian or with a bit of morals) is thinking of trying this movie out, don’t bother. If you decide to compromise your values anyway, definitely do not degrade your parents or young teens by taking them with you, go alone!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Lena Heath, age 31
Positive—I thought that this movie was really good. …funny.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Rachel, age 25
Negative—…Surviving the entirety of Just Friends was downright embarrassing! I tend to be rather lenient in regard to content, and yet this movie offended me greatly. I assume that when creating the movie the writers had some plan to give a moral “be yourself” message, judging from the way the story tried to lean. However, any good message was completely corrupted by the excessive sexual innuendo flung at the viewer from every angle. For example, a poster of a woman covered in whipped cream with strategically placed cherries—eating a banana. …I can’t get the visual out of my head.

The former illustration was hardly the worst. There are constant allusions to some form of sexuality throughout the film. After so much bombardment of sick humor, I honestly gave up trying to search for whatever message the filmmakers were shooting for. And if you suspect that I’m merely being “legalistic,” please understand that I’m a Christian who is completely okay with watching some R-rated movies, as long as they have merit. In my opinion, “Just Friends” — a PG-13 movie—contains far more debased humor and pointlessness than some R-rated movies, and yet STILL fails to provide any thought-provoking message/quality entertainment.

I highly reccomend viewers avoid this movie. There are far more quality options out there, options that don’t require one to check their morality at the doorstep and spend an hour and a half soaking their mind in sewage.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Beth, age 20