A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Just Friends is crude, and there are frequent sexual allusions (to masturbation, genitals, and other sexual activities). It moves beyond satire to vulgar cruelty as it lampoons women, homosexuals, and just about everyone else. Characters smoke cigarettes and drink; one character appears "high" after she taking Vicodin. An Ashlee Simpson-styled pop singer wears revealing clothing (tight and midriff-revealing tops) and attempts to seduce a high school student. The film includes frequent "New Jersey" jokes along with a bit of mild cursing (including half a "f--k").
What's the story?
JUST FRIENDS begins at high school graduation when overweight Chris (Ryan Reynolds) tells his friend Jamie (Amy Smart) that he wants to be "more than friends." But this isn't in the cards. Ten years later, Chris is a thin, successful L.A. music industry executive and callow ladies man. At Christmas time, he's transporting singer Samantha (Anna Faris), who wants to hook up with Chris, to Europe. When the plane is detained in New Jersey, Chris discovers Jamie working at a local bar, whereupon he decides that he'll "get even," by seducing and abandoning her. This leads to several awkward situations and physical humor. Soon, Chris realizes that he really does love her, and so endeavors to impress her in earnest. At this point, old rival for Jamie's affection shows up -- former stutterer Dusty Dinkleman (Chris Klein), who is now dashing and utterly devious.
Is it any good?
Perhaps the only nice thing that can be said about this boisterous romantic comedy, is that it isn't quite as desperately rude as Ryan Reynolds' other recent film, Waiting. But it pushes the PG-13 rating with vulgar language and situations.
Faris again demonstrates that she is fearless when it comes to physical stunts and comedic emotional excesses, making you wish that she might find a role that would allow her to stretch in other directions. Unfortunately, Samantha is Just Friends's primary butt of uninspired sexual titillation jokes, which leaves Jamie as the banal "good girl." Add to this line-up Chris's clueless mom, and the women in this movie are mostly props for the boys' violent humor and self-absorption.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Chris's efforts to overcome his high school reputation and the shame he felt when kids teased him. How does his younger, sweet, overweight self contrast with his 10-years-later "playboy" self? How does his relationship with genuine nice girl Jamie contrast with his distaste for self-involved Samantha?
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