Just FriendsJust Friends is a 2005 American Christmas romantic comedy film directed by Roger Kumble, written by Adam 'Tex' Davis and starring Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Klein and Christopher Marquette. The plot focuses on a formerly overweight high school nerd (Reynolds) who attempts to free himself from the friend zone after reconnecting with his lifelong crush and best friend (Smart) while visiting his hometown for Christmas.
The film revolves around humorous observation of strictly platonic relationships as "just friends" or "just as best friends." It was shot in Regina and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The film was released on November 23, 2005 and grossed $50 million.
PlotIn 1995, Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) is an overweight high school senior who secretly has a huge romantic crush on his classmate and best friend Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart). After confessing his feelings by writing them in Jamie's yearbook, he attends his and Jamie's graduation party. As he returns Jamie's yearbook to her, it is secretly swapped by her despicable ex-boyfriend, Tim (Ty Olsson), who reads the declaration aloud to everyone and humiliates Chris. Jamie doesn't reciprocate his romantic feelings; after they share a brief kiss on the cheek. Chris tearfully leaves the party, announcing that he will never return and vows to be more successful than everyone else.
In 2005, Chris has lost weight, is handsome, lives in Los Angeles; and is a womanizer and a highly successful record producer. Prior to Christmas, Chris's employer, company CEO KC (Stephen Root), asks Chris to accompany an emerging self-obsessed pop singer named Samantha James (Anna Faris), whom Chris once went out with and ended up in the hospital afterwards, to Paris to ensure she signs with their label, an order to which Chris reluctantly complies. During the trip to Paris, Samantha accidentally sets her private jet on fire resulting in an emergency landing in New Jersey, near Chris's hometown.
Chris takes Samantha to his mother's house to spend the night and re-engages with his teenage past, including his unresolved feelings for Jamie. Samantha meets Chris's mother and 18-year-old brother Mike (Christopher Marquette) who has an enormous crush on Samantha. At the local bar, Chris encounters some old classmates, including his other best friend Clark (Fred Ewanuick) and Clark's wife Darla (Amy Matysio); he also encounters Jamie, who is working as a bartender to support herself through graduate school to become a teacher. Chris plans to impress and seduce Jamie by having Mike keep Samantha busy during his date with Jamie, but the realization that Jamie's platonic friendship is important to him hampers Chris's plan. During a friendly ice skating "day date", Chris is taken away in an ambulance after injuring himself during a hockey game with Jamie and a trio of kids (who start to share a dislike on him for his inexperience). At the scene, Jamie is reunited with Dusty Dinkleman (Chris Klein), a paramedic and former high school nerd who was also in love with her, while Chris is taunted by all of the kids in town for making them lose the game.
The next night, Chris goes to Jamie's for a Christmas party, planning to reveal his feelings for her, but he finds Dusty already there winning the guests over with his charm and musical talents. Back at Chris's place, Samantha ambushes Mike and demands to find out Chris's location, he tells her where Chris has gone after she kisses Mike. In a rage, she drives to Jamie's house and crashes through her fence, destroying her family's Christmas decorations. Chris returns home in embarrassment, and Jamie follows him; she tells him she is not mad and they end up spending the night together catching up and looking at photos. However, due to Chris's continuing lack of assertion, the two end up falling asleep and nothing happens that night.
The next day, Jamie speaks with Darla about the night before, while Chris goes to Clark's medical office for advice, her fear that Chris's lack of affection means that he doesn't like her. Jamie admits that while the two are "just friends", she tried to show Chris that she is interested in a relationship. Clark tells Chris that "the timing wasn't right" and Jamie and Chris's history hinders his willingness to have sex with her. Outside the office, they happen to catch Dusty singing to a sexy nurse and then kissing her. Dusty reveals to Chris and Clark that he only plans to have sex with Jamie, as he wants to humiliate her in the same way that he felt she used to humiliate him when he was a nerd and she was the object of his crush.
Chris tries to warn Jamie, but instead ends up attacking Dusty in front of her; Jamie refuses to listen when Chris tries to explain. Chris consequently gets drunk and goes to the bar where Jamie works, finding her there with Dusty. Jamie refuses to listen and Dusty tries to convince her to have sex with him. When Jamie gently turns him down, Dusty storms out of the bar. Chris and Jamie get into another fight, with him blaming her for keeping him in the "friend zone" and saying that she will never amount to anything. Jamie punches Chris and he is tossed out of the bar. Upon returning to Los Angeles and having a frightening reunion with Samantha, Chris realizes that Jamie is his one and only true love. He returns to New Jersey, where he declares his romantic love for Jamie to her and the two share a kiss, while the three kids (from the hockey game earlier) watch in disgust.
Alanis Morissette, then Reynolds's fiancée, made a cameo appearance as "herself" as a former client of his character. This came about when the casting director said "we need an Alanis Morissette type" and Reynolds said he knew someone who would fit. This scene was deleted, however, and is only available on the DVD.
ProductionThe film was shot in Los Angeles and parts of Regina and Moose Jaw.
A soundtrack was released November 22, 2005 on New Line Records.
;Track listing # Ben Lee – "Catch My Disease" # Fountains of Wayne – "Hackensack" # Rogue Wave – "Eyes" # Anna Faris (as Samantha James) – "Forgiveness" # Brendan Benson – "Cold Hands (Warm Heart)" # Robbers on High Street – "Big Winter" # The Sights – "Waiting on a Friend" # Reed Foehl – "When It Comes Around" # The Lemonheads – "Into Your Arms" # 'Just Friends' Holiday Players – "Christmas, Christmas" # "Dusty 'Lee' Dinkleman" – "Jamie Smiles" # Anna Faris (as Samantha James) – "Love from Afar" # Jeff Cardoni – "Just Friends Score Medley" # All-4-One – "I Swear" # Carly Simon – "Coming Around Again"
Original songs performed in the film# "Forgiveness", performed multiple times by Anna Faris. # "Jamie Smiles", performed multiple times by Chris Klein # "Love from Afar", performed by Anna Faris and Renee Sandstrom # "Just a Guy", performed by Anna Faris (only on the Alternate Ending)
Most songs in the film were written by Adam Schiff, except "When Jamie Smiles", which was written by H. Scott Salinas.
The orchestral score was written by Jeff Cardoni, and orchestrated by Stephen Coleman and Tony Blondal.
Box officeJust Friends grossed $32.6 million domestically, and $18.3 million in other territories, for a box office total of $50.9 million.
In the United States the film grossed $9.2 million in its opening weekend, finishing 6th at the box office.