Just Friends Roger Kumble

Upon reassessment, Just Friends is, oddly enough, a much better film than initially thought upon its theatrical release. Easily written as a vehicle for the comedic talent of Ryan Reynolds, this rom-com features enough of an outlet for the affable actor to do his sarcastic frat boy routine while bringing forward a charming romantic side. Beginning in the mid-'90s, with Reynolds as Chris Brander, an overweight geek in high school, the movie's narrative centres on his relationship with Jamie (the adorable Amy Smart), his "BFF" who he's always held a torch for. After he's embarrassed when his secret's revealed, he vows to "show everyone" and become successful so he can throw it in their faces. Flashing forward, Chris is now a big shot record exec who is faced with the unwanted task of babysitting a Christina Aguilera-like psycho pop star (Anna Faris), which lands them in his old, forgotten hometown. Of course, he's brought back to his former life, which gives him a chance to seek revenge on Jamie for keeping him in the "friend zone." From there the film moves like clockwork: he falls for her again, he's faced with an old rival (the daft Chris Klein) and an obstacle (a horny Faris), and he fucks up and looks for salvation. As predictable as it is, Just Friends has risqué and gratifying sides to it that are presented in equal measure, making it a formidable date flick. The deleted scenes are also worth a peak, as Reynolds's real life fiancée, Alanis Morrissette, makes a cameo as herself, playing off their chemistry as a couple, while the alternate ending is a nice addition that delivers further laughs and is a good way of showing more of Chris's life as an A&R guy. A "behind the scenes" featurette follows the same old formula, but the gag reel provides enough laughs to watch it at least once. Plus: commentary. (Alliance Atlantis)