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Movie Review

Just Friends also known as “Apenas Amigos,” “Samo prijatelji,” “Solo amigos,” “Sólo amigos,” “Csak barátok,” “Solo amici,” “Just Friends - No Sex,” “Samo prijatelja,” “Simplement amis?,” “Tikai Draugi,” “Vain frendejä,” “Wild X-Mas,” “Zostanmy przyjaciólmi”

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

Reviewed by: Evan D. Baltz
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
2005
USA Release:
November 23, 2005 (wide)
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Relevant Issues
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Relationship information
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Featuring: Ryan ReynoldsChris Brander
Amy SmartJamie Palamino
Anna FarisSamantha James
Chris Klein … Dusty Dinkleman
Chris Marquette (Christopher Marquette) … Mike Brander
Giacomo Beltrami … Young Mike Brander
Fred Ewanuick … Clark
Amy Matysio … Darla
Julie Hagerty … Carol Brander
Wendy Anderson … Mrs. Palamino
Barry Flatman … Mr. Palamino
more »
Director: Roger Kumble—“Cruel Intentions” (1999), “The Sweetest Thing” (2002)
Producer: Inferno Distribution
Cinerenta Medienbeteiligungs KG
more »
Distributor: New Line Cinema

“He loves her. She loves him not.”

Revised 12.1.2016

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. 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 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 to moderate / Profanity: Heavy—OMG (2), “G*d d*mn” (3), “G*d” (10+), “Oh G*d” (4), “My G*d” (1), “J*sus” (2), “J*sus Chr*st” (1), “h*ll” (6), “d*mn” (2), f-word, s-word (6), SOB (4), many sexual slang words / Sex: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
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. more »
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—John Kehrli, age 31
Positive—I thought that this movie was really good. …funny.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Rachel, age 25
Neutral
Neutral—There was no nudity, and there were no actual scenes of sex, but the sexual content is heavy. About that, let me first of all say that the majority of it is in satirical context. The film mocks sensual celebrities and those who idolize them, so I did laugh at it. But I'd still say, and I think most Christian viewers would agree with me, that it went too far. However, I was pleased that the sexual content always stays on the side. This is a slapstick film, and there is a large dose of hearty laughter come from the crazy scenarios. The characters are also very endearing. However, despite the thought-provoking premise, which most viewers will relate to, I'm not sure this is something I’d want to recommend.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Gabriel Mohler, age 27 (USA)
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
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
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
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. more »
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Beth, age 20

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