Saturday, March 5, 2016
JUST FRIENDS (2005)
Directed By: Roger Kumble
Written By: Adam Davis
Cinematography By: Anthony B. Richmond
Editor: Jeff Freeman
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Amy Smart, Chris Klein, Stephen Root, Julie Hagerty, Chris Marquette, Robin Dunne, Ashley Scott
Chris Brander has always been friends with Jamie Palamino, but now decides it is time to take his relationship to the next step. The problem is that Jamie still wants to be 'Just Friends'. When he runs away and moves to L.A., he becomes an attractive music manager, whom everyone wants. When his jet catches fire and is forced to land, when flying to Paris with his newest singing sensation, Samantha James, he ends up back home. To his surprise, he encounters Jamie again, and sets out to be more than 'Just Friends' this time.
I will admit that this movie is a guilty pleasure. As by any rights it's not a good film or nothing you haven't seen before, but it has a certain charm about it, like an sitcom from yesteryear that you still find humorous. That you will sit and watch most times that it is on. It might be all the physical comedy the film more calls upon.
I believe it also has to do with the like ability of the cast and characters.
This was when Ryan Reynolds was on the hot track to be a star and a bunch of the films he played in called for him to be the smart aleck. Smarmy yet witty lead. So watching him be funny and antagonizing in very few characters whole constantly being abused throughout feels a bit justified. Until you find yourself actually feeling sorry for him. But only because the abuse seems to eat away his ego. Here he seems like he is trying to emulate Chevy Chase. Especially with the whole over confidence and constant sarcastic tone, but the shame is that Reynolds is a good actor and if he just relied on his skills to create a character here. He would be better in this film.
Also for all the so called nice guys watching the film who can sympathize with the main character. It feels like déjà vu. Or kind of a wish fulfillment that goes wrong Along the way, but ends up ok in the end.
It also works as a holiday comedy.
The one thing this movie had working against it, is itself. The film tries too hard half the time. The film feel like it doesn't have enough confidence in it's own situations and jokes. So that it never goes over the top. Though seems to want to get on that dangerous ice. Yet constantly feels like it shorts itself out before really getting to the sweet spots. So that it either piles on more humor or pushes the joke too hard. Which is almost the same equivalent as explaining the joke. Almost like it is afraid anytime it comes close to genuine emotion.
The film has a constant humorous tone. Which leaves the film to be funny many times, but the only one cast me never who cones off unscathed is Anna Faris. Who is a hilarious scene-stealer throughout and sure she is over the top, but she is the spice this film needs at times. She gives a performance that is a star maker and also unexpected considering her previous roles in comedies like the SCARY MOVIE series of films. Though crazy and spoofs. She came off as one of the more reserved or low energy performance. Here she is pretty much balls out. To keep up Samantha's continuous aggressiveness and hysterics, she continually drank Red Bulls before filming.
It would be nice to see the side characters given more to do or at least some more life. Even seeing Julie Hagerty's character would have been hilarious. Knowing how funny she can be and how funny her character is at times here. You would also expect more laughs to Cone from Reynolds hometown friends. Who seemed perfectly set-up by then nothing is really done with them.
As usual in comedies like this the object or person of affection. Is beautiful but the writers are so busy giving everyone else quirks, arcs, and humorous situations. They totally skip the female lead, so that other then looks. You never know why everyone is so gags over her, knowing she is the one. They never pinpoint nor give her anything fun to really do. No personality, no goals. She falls for all the same tricks. Like she doesn't have a working brain or thoughts or even observations. Then usually have her character even feel sorry for herself, but have other characters tell her why she's so special. Though we never actually see it. We end following the lead verbatim and believe it.
This film tries too late to change that scenario in the later scenes, but here Amy Smart's character seems underdeveloped. Standing as a representation or symbol more than anything.
I know i seem tough or more like I am complaining about the film rather than praise it. It's just that the film shouldn't work, but it does. It's like those commercials for sour patch kids. Their sour then they become sweet. Here the film has a sweetness even when it tries to be snarky. The story doesn't always add up. Yet it achieves what it set out to do. It even managed to have it's norms work more times than not.
I say if you haven't seen it. Give it a chance. It’s not great or legendary. Though it should keep your interest.