Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Just Friends

posted by rkumar
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Strong language for a PG-13
Nudity/Sex:Very explicit sexual references and situations for a PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, including drunkenness, prescription drug abuse played for humor
Violence/Scariness:Comic violence with comic but graphic injuries
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:2005
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Strong language for a PG-13
Nudity/Sex: Very explicit sexual references and situations for a PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking, including drunkenness, prescription drug abuse played for humor
Violence/Scariness: Comic violence with comic but graphic injuries
Diversity Issues: None
Movie Release Date: 2005

The worst thing about this movie is not how dumb it is, or how much talent it wastes. The worst thing is not how crude it is or how ugly the humor (more accurately, intended humor) is, and how cynically it exploits the inadequacies of the MPAA in attempting to provide parental guidance. No, the worst thing about this movie is how evident the entire cast’s lack of interest is. With one exception, they all look either embarrassed or bored or both.

So let’s talk about the one exception, the fabulous Anna Faris who is full-on fearless as Samantha, a pop star who put the “high” in “high maintenance.”

Samantha’s high maintenance is currently the responsibility of Chris (Ryan Reynolds), a former high school overweight sweetie still hung up on Jamie (Amy Smart), the girl who never let him out of the “friend zone.” Now he’s slim, successful, and a ladykiller, and determined to stay as far away as he can from the place he came from and the person he used to be.

So of course a microwave mishap on Samantha’s plane means a forced landing you-know-where. Chris tries a number of annoying techniques to capture Jamie’s heart (okay, some of the time his interest is in other portions of her anatomy), leading to much humiliation and mayhem, all of it either teeth-grindingly tedious, heart-sinkingly crude, or just plain boring, often all three at once.

Smart and Julie Hagarty as Chris’ mother are underused in roles that are under-written. Chris Klein does pretty well as a rival for Jamie’s affections. But Reynolds, as usual, looks like he can’t believe he’s stuck doing this stuff. He’s better off than those of us who have to watch it.

Parents should know that this movie take advantage of every loophole in the MPAA’s formulas to push the edge of the envelope on the PG-13. It has a great deal of material that is not just “mature” or “edgy” but very vulgar and crude. “Raise your hand if your brother is a homo!” is the merry jape Chris’ little brother tosses off repeatedly, along with “Did you boink her yet?” The overall idiocy of pop tart Samantha, including promiscuity, is also a source of intended humor. Chris’ promiscuity is supposed to be dashing and charming. It isn’t. There is a same-sex kiss (also supposed to be funny). Characters drink and get drunk and a character’s abuse of Vicodin is supposed to be funny. There is a lot of comic violence.

Families who see this movie should talk about why our adolescent insecurities continue to haunt us.

Families who appreciate this movie will also enjoy the much better Stuck on You.

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