I was half expecting this to be one of those lightly fluffed flicks which you go and laugh at, then forget almost everything about it thereafter. In some ways it is, but little did I realise that it actually had me thinking about one of the predicaments I was in previously, and it brought back some memories, both good and bad.
Ryan Reynolds plays Chris Brander, a successful yuppie in the music industry, a swinging player in his own right, the self professed expert when it comes to relationships. He teams up with Anna Faris (they starred together in an earlier movie Waiting), who in this movie plays a bimbotic pop rocker, Samantha James, moulded in your spears-simpson fashion, totally hot, and with bad attitude to boot. While they might have been a cute couple (or so she thinks), Chris just cannot forget his childhood sweetheart, his first love Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart, hitting the local screens for the second time this month, after her vase like role in Crank).
10 years ago, Chris was publicly humiliated while discovering that his sweetheart had placed him under the "friends" category, when he wanted something more. Yeah, every dating guy's worst nightmare, is to discover that the feeling's not mutual, and you're relegated to the "Just Friends" status (hence the title). A fluke chance is presented when the successful Chris finds himself back in his hometown, and buys ample time in trying to rediscover and restrategize his gameplan to finally tell Jamie just how he feels about her, though tempted is he as well with the idea of a "revenge bang".
And you'd think the training in LA and the smoothness in his methods with hot models might work here. They don't, and they bring about the usual tired laughs of plans backfiring, and a potential rival from the past vying for the same affections. With the big time singer throwing tantrums in the small town, Samantha becoming a potential roadblock with her demanding ways, Chris' deliberate and elaborate plans to deceive, his kid brother's idolization of Chris' "girlfriend" the pop star, and a more than concerned mom, the ensemble is something that seemed quite familiar, though they come together really well.
Eddie Murphy has done it, and so have Adam Sandler and Robin Williams. Probably any self respecting comedian would have to don a fat suit once in a while, and this time, it's Ryan Reynolds' turn. Here he pulls off a number of personas - the confident swinger, the shy unsure low confidence fat teenager, blowing a hot temper when things don't go his way, and finally, the sensitive guy underneath it all. Anna Faris brings back her ditzy Scary Movies persona in a horny role that requires her to sing badly, while Amy Smart plays the complete opposite in the girl next door you just want to bring home to mom. And Chris Klein continues in yet another his jerk role after The Long Weekend, his first appearance as a rock star wannabe is totally hilarious, though somehow I think every pretty face has to appear once in a while behind an ugly mug.
Throughout the movie, my mind was incessantly remembering stuff about my own past, on the relationships I had. It's quite uncanny that it could fall broadly into those two female characters - the one whom you adore so much, but always being unattainable, and the other whom, credit to her, doesn't give up on you, but yet faces your constant rejection. My heart sank as I realize, that this is a movie after all, that I won't have my own happy ending, try as I may. I must confess I've grown cynical, and gave up on trying at all. I'm stuck in the "Just Friends" category, and will probably stay there for the forseeable future.
While the movie has its expected Hollywood styled formula ending, you'd probably find something more in it if you've experience some elements yourself. Otherwise, it's another run off the mill forgettable movie. If the song Forgiveness sung by Anna Faris floats your boat, stay tuned during the end credits for the entire song. Simply hilarious with inane lyrics. Oh, and Ryan Reynolds completes his lip synching to All-4-One's I Swear, only for those who bother to stay behind.