Unfriendly schtick

Just Friends

Rated 3.0

While in high school, New Jersey fat loser Chris (Ryan Reynolds) suffered a doomed crush on his best friend, the wildly popular cheerleader Jamie (Amy Smart). Unfortunately, a misplaced mash note exposes him to epic humiliation at the graduation party and Chris is hounded from town. Ten years later, the man has trimmed down and achieved great success as both a Hollywood record executive and a Lothario with his own player ethos based on his high school rejection. Sent to shepherd a rising pop sensation (Anna Feris in literal sex-crazed mode) to Paris for a Hilton shindig, the private jet is forced to land outside his own Jersey hometown and Chris vows to finally score with his lifelong obsession, only to find himself competing against another reformed geek (Chris Klein) for the affections of the girl.

Absolutely nothing about this movie should work, and yet it still remains consistently hilarious in that Wedding Crasher mode of the humor of humiliation. If humor is hostility masked as wit, then Just Friends mines the ethos of the Three Stooges to effective end. Taking a note from America’s Funniest Home Videos, the existential kneeslapper of someone getting nailed in the balls is repeatedly explored, and decidedly un-PC gags are thrown down like gauntlets. About as subtle as a brickbat, but at least you get your money’s worth here.