Just Friends (USA, 2005
Directed by Roger Kumble
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Klein
Romantic comedies are often held up as the epitome of Hollywood dross. They are used to guage how far the standards of comedy and character development have fallen in the history of cinema, and every year another bad reminder of their poor quality and cynical nature comes along to torment us. The fact that many of these films make bucketloads of money can only be explained by a lack of alternative viewing for women, or a lack of taste all-round.
Rat Race, but her she's pretty bland, reduced whether by the script, direction or a lack of confidence to just being smiley and care-free. Anna Faris, who would later excel in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, is as annoying here as she is in the Scary Movie series, screeching through her lines like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. The supporting cast are mostly unmemorable, with Chris Klein having to play the Phil Hartman role in Jingle All The Way, but without the talent or charisma.
Beverly Hills Cop III, I commented that boring films are the hardest to defend, because they are not even memorably offensive enough to justify themselves (i.e. they are worth having as a baseline, below which we should not hope to drop). If Just Friends was merely creepy or offensive, or even annoying, it may have been possible to argue its case in this manner. But for better or worse, it's no Sex and the City.
The Man Who Fell To Earth for Nicolas Roeg, and later working with The Who on The Kids Are Alright. But ever since the early-2000s, when he lensed Legally Blonde, he seems to have got stuck in a rut with plastic, vapid rom-coms. Here his lighting choices and camera angles are stale and predictable, draining out whatever energy Kumble was attempting to bring to proceedings.
NEXT REVIEW: The Chase (1994)