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    Here begins your journey into the mind of everybody's favorite asian, and I don't mean Jet Li.
What follows is the somewhat inane, mostly irrelevant, and self-important ramblings of a man on the brink of madness.
Welcome... to the Chu.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
 Movie Review: Just Friends    [L]

I have something I must confess: I have a man-crush on Ryan Reynolds.

It started with Van Wilder. Then I saw him in Blade: Trinity. I have yet to see The Amityville Horror or Waiting, but I guess that I would be satisfied with his performance in those movies as well.

Granted, he plays the near-same part in just about every comedy, but much like a favorite flavor of ice cream, I don't really mind repeat performances. He is consistently Carrey-esque in his delivery and comedic timing - whether or not he has the same chops and longevity remains to be seen.

It is with this in mind that I went to see a sneak preview of Just Friends.

The premise of the movie is immediately familiar, at least to anyone who's seen a lot of movies: Geeky/Fat and Pure-Hearted Boy has Unrequited Love for his Female Best Friend, Becomes Humiliated at the High School Graduation Party, Vows to Show Them All by Becoming The Exact Opposite, Returns Years Later and Tries Again. Throw in a few additional seasonings, mix well.

Ryan Reynolds plays Chris Brander, formerly mentioned Fat Pure-Hearted Boy, to Amy Smart's Female Best Friend, Jamie Palomino. It's 10 years after his humiliation, and Chris has left his hometown in New Jersey for Hollywood, where he's a big-time music agent, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. He gets sent by his boss to recruit and woo Hwood's newest teen pop ashleyjessicaaguileralavigne star (played by Anna Faris), and in the course of flying to paris, gets forced to land in, you guessed it, New Jersey. So Chris is forced to go back to the place he's avoided the past 10 years - home. Cue the screwball comedy.

Let's go down the romanticomedy movie cliche checklist:
High School
Humiliation/Revenge - Traumatic humiliating experience leads a character to show them all by becoming so much better than the people who humiliated him, and then coming back and seeing how low they all are - Check.
Second Chances - By pure happenstance, the main character gets another chance at the woman of his dreams - Check.
The Competition - Of course, there's competition for the woman (Chris Klein, in the form of a super-nice, super-talented guy, who does everything right, but in the end is revealed to be a big huge jerk - Check.
The Ball and Chain - There's a third-party tagalong who doesn't really mean anything to the relationship and yet keeps getting in the way or sending the wrong signals - Check.
Destruction - The absolute most huge, intricate, and complete Christmas decoration set is utterly destroyed, various things explode and catch on fire - Check.

And therein lies the movie's flaw: Just Friends brings very little in terms of original content - we've seen this movie before. But that's not to say I didn't enjoy the film.

-Chris' relation with his brother is frequently the funniest bit running throughout the whole movie - they antagonize and terrorize each other in hilarious slapstick ways.
-The movie is not nearly as raunchy as I thought it would be - despite a few entendres from Anna Faris' character. Overall, it probably won't cause you any shame to watch it with your parents. Not that I watch movies with my parents anymore, but if you had to, you probably could. But i'm not watching any movies with your parents, either, so your mileage may vary.
-Ryan Reynolds - Is there anything he's not funny at?

-Frequently, the movie goes too-over-the-top. Principal symptoms of over-the-topness are rubenesque/mouse-trap gags, idiotic supporting characters, doing things no real person would.
-I have a big gripe with this movie's overdubbing. Anna Faris' and Chris Klein's characters are musicians - yet every time they open their mouth or play an instrument it is so completely obvious that they being overdubbed. Now, I'm not saying that they should have sung their own parts and played their own guitars - but the editors could've put a lot more effort into making it seem as if they had. The horrendous lipsynching broke me out of the movie experience and forced me to critique the technical side - not the thing to do if you're aiming for a light-hearted over-the-top comedy.

In the end, it is a derivative, thoroughly-cliched, but entertaining romantic comedy. Ryan Reynolds continues to deliver solid comedic performances despite the all-too-familiar material.

Many thanks to Grace Hill Media and New Line Cinema for the free tickets.

Man-crush eh?...

***Note to self - Stay away from Chuang.

By Blogger BiggMikeDee, at 12/05/2005 04:03:00 PM      

Admit it Mike, you yourself have a man-crush on Will Smith.

By Blogger Chu, at 12/05/2005 04:31:00 PM      

it's true...ninjas are happenin'.
anywop...a gang of us is headed to cincy sunday...alysunshine will be there!!! think about it... if you're cool.

By Blogger chad o, at 12/13/2005 12:35:00 PM      

^^^ speak up ^^^