‘Just Friends’


A refreshingly mean-spirited breeze through both the holiday movie and romantic-comedy checklists (including the third-act heart of gold), Just Friends aspires to the exalted likes of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, in which the ostracized misfit returns to wow his old classmates with nouveau-riche playthings and a newly taut abdomen. Overweight drama geek Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) spent high school covertly pining after his BFF Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart), a bubbly blonde cheerleader who just doesn’t think of Chris that way. Ten years after a graduation-night humiliation sent him packing to L.A., where he’s metamorphosed into a smooth-talking record exec, Chris crash-lands in the New Jersey suburb Jamie still calls (her parents’) home. Can he finally win her heart? Between belabored plot points, screenwriter Adam “Tex” Davis gets in some good jokes, mostly at the expense of Samantha James (Anna Faris), a monstrous Britney clone Chris has been ordered to sign in spite of her K-Fed-grade pipes. An underrated (if not underworked) comedic talent, Reynolds acquits himself masterfully; by simply widening his eyes, he provides a window into the private anguish of his bemused Everyasshole.