The Buddy System

by robbiefreeling
November 30, 2005 6:16 AM
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filmenthusiast2000: There's literally no way Just Friends doesn't make my top 10 for the year.
filmenthusiast2000: I'm not saying critics are drones... But give Just Friends the same marketing push as 40 Year Old Virgin/ Wedding Crashers...And it would go up 30 points on metacritic.
filmenthusiast2000: Instead of being thrown to the over-eager 3rd tier critics for an easy bash.
robbiefreeling: i was thinking about that this morning on the subway
robbiefreeling: so much better than 40 Year Old Virgin….SO much better
robbiefreeling: there are surprisingly few cheap potshots in the film
filmenthusiast2000: I didn't know you were so lukewarm on 40 Year Old!
robbiefreeling: i hated 40 Year Old Virgin…didn't laugh beginning to end
filmenthusiast2000: Wow! I'm impressed!
filmenthusiast2000: Seriously!
robbiefreeling: all the jokes of the dudes in the electronics store.....zzzzzz, tired, obvious. And Catherine Keener was far too "sensible" and "classy"
filmenthusiast2000: I certainly prefer JF and Amy Smart...
robbiefreeling: and all those comic book and collectible figurine jokes
filmenthusiast2000: Yeah, it seems with "studio trash, a few million in marketing makes all the difference with critics between "bawdy guilty pleasure" and "tired rom-com retread"
robbiefreeling: Just Friends, seemed much fresher. The actors in the film take such delight
robbiefreeling: I'd say that's the main difference in watching a cast of able young comedic actors doing their thing as opposed to cynical, "seasoned" pros like Steve Carrell
robbiefreeling: Anna Faris is one of our great comic talents, but because she didn't start out on SNL, she's virtually ignored
filmenthusiast2000: Have you revised your opinion of Mr. Reynolds?
robbiefreeling: Often, he veers too far into outright jerk territory, and he's a smidgen too hateful to be a rom-com lead, but a lot of his timing is dead on
robbiefreeling: his chemistry with his brother is the real delight of the film. The scenes with Smart seem negligible in comparison
filmenthusiast2000: Yeah, well I could say his about-face into sincerity at the end was a bit much to swallow. But then I was crying, so whatever.
robbiefreeling: Yeah, but you cried at Doom
filmenthusiast2000: The detail work in the movie is so great: the tossed off, half-heard lines ("This town is full of losers, and I'm pulling out"--that's Springsteen's 'Thunder Road'), the Mortal Kombat song on the 95' mix-tape ("The Summer of like")...
robbiefreeling: yeah, there's a lot of great off-screen last-minute dubbing that adds to the film's flippant charms…and there's also plenty of refreshing slapstick instead of crummy sex jokes
robbiefreeling: Why I find 40 Year Old Virgin so stultifying is because when you rely only on sex jokes, the film becomes oddly agenda-driven, a la that piece of trash American Pie, which is not about laughs as much as furthering myths about American male sexuality. Just Friends has none of that, it's really about the characters
filmenthusiast2000: Whoa whoa whoa, let's not throw out the baby (Pie gave us the gift of Seann William Scott!) with the bathwater.
robbiefreeling: true...and JF has some of that insanely overplayed Seann William Scott feel to it (i.e.,reaction shots that would be a bit much in a Don Knotts vehicle)
filmenthusiast2000: I'd put Reynolds next to Scott in the super-affable, smarmy jock school of comedic acting. Reynolds just seems like a really fucking funny second-string quarterback who would goof off in math class and say the most hilarious shit ever. Which is far more my cup of tea than the snotty skateboarder guys--Johnny Knoxville and Jason Lee...
robbiefreeling: Knoxville and Lee are two of the most reprehensible pieces of human garbage ever to be allowed onscreen
filmenthusiast2000: Friends is about 20 minutes overlong, but so was 40 Y.O. Virgin, and JF instilled me with far more confidence that there was always another LOL lurking around the corner.
robbiefreeling: that's true...Virgin was leaden and it went on and on to its inevitable conclusion...not to mention when Carrell takes that daring leap through the air and smashes into the truck at the end of the film, the slapstick seems like it comes out of nowhere. in JF, the physical mayhem is nicely spread around so nothing seems out of place
filmenthusiast2000: And the low comedy takes the high road every time--Reynolds singing All-4-One in the beginning prepped me for a string of limp "Remember 10 years ago" nostalgia gags, but the retro material that did pop up was so perfect and specific (i.e. the Mortal Kombat song) that it was irresistible.
robbiefreeling oh THAT's what that song was! My brother used to listen to that. i knew it sounded familiar
filmenthusiast2000: Faris, feigning a concussion, and glomming toothpaste out of her mouth is probably the funniest thing I've seen at the movies this year. In 50 years, when they hand her a Lifetime Achievement award, that's a shoo-in clip.
robbiefreeling haha....that's the only scene i think about when I recall the film
robbiefreeling Anna Faris - Best Supporting Actress
filmenthusiast2000: "Game" is the word that springs to mind when I think of her screen presence.
robbiefreeling i saw about 20 minutes of Scary Movie 3 when i was home for Thanksgiving...not that bad
filmenthusiast2000: Oh my no. Sheen's in top form.
robbiefreeling: well, we can at least agree on one thing: Thank God Syriana was sold out
filmenthusiast2000: Seriously.
filmenthusiast2000: I just downloaded Just Friends wallpaper for my work PC

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  • robbiefreeling | December 2, 2005 4:42 AMReply

    HA! Brotherfromanother, how could we never have spoken of this? Ever since I saw BUTTERFLY EFFECT, that weird, awkward close-up of the granola bar (Nature Valley....those things can break your teeth!) exploiding in Ashton's prosthetic handm I've been permanently doubled over with laughs. When my friend and I saw that, she screamed with a snicker when that granola shattered and then we literally couldn't catch our breaths for the rest of the film's running time. BRAVO, Butterfly Effect!

  • brotherfromanother | December 1, 2005 8:38 AMReply

    can't get on board for the Just Friends jamboree -- it was okay, not mean-spirited (a la Coldplay)but also lazy and uninspired (Coldplay again.) But watching professional Blonde Left Behind Amy Smart I was reminded of a critically derided but really great little movie called The Butterfly Effect. Remember when Ashton Kutcher broke the granola snack in his cumbersome prosthetic hand? Who's with me?

  • Bill | December 1, 2005 8:13 AMReply

    This post seems so full of sarcasm, it has left me deeply confused. So, do you really hate 40-year-old Virgin, or are you just playing along. Coldplay is awful, but then, are you being ironic in mentioning them?

  • robbiefreeling | December 1, 2005 6:18 AMReply

    I'll clear that up, Bill: shockingly it's one of our less sarcastic posts....everything in there is to be taken with the utmost seriousness (no sarcasm here!). Robbiefreeling (me) does in fact hate 40 Year Old Virgin, Filmenthusiast likes it fine, and Clarence loves it. I do not like Coldplay, that was good old-fashioned slander.

  • clarencecarter | November 30, 2005 10:02 AMReply

    Actually, I was that dude once and fully appreciate the utter lameness of taking enjoyment from pointless minor destruction in both real (me in red bowtie) and fictional (them) iterations. But, when your job is picking up gross shit and cleaning bathrooms, you take what you can get. Either, way I wouldn't describe anything that occurs in the bulk of that film as even approaching "cool" - that's WEDDING CRASHERS's turf.

    This is all because they made fun of Coldplay, isn't it? Look, I'll give you "Clocks" but PARACHUTES or whatever is called is 6th Circle listening...

  • robbiefreeling | November 30, 2005 9:50 AMReply

    Come on, the smashing lightbulbs scene? Please. It's just another "cool dudes hangin' out" scene. And apparently you thought they were pretty cool.

  • clarencecarter | November 30, 2005 8:46 AMReply

    It takes some serious rancor to find 40 Y.O. so hateful, methinks. I can't say for sure if I'm impressed that you're still mad about something so slight four months later or just worried by it. Perhaps you've got a touch of armonditis? I seem to remember you missed WEDDING CRASHERS, which, for my money, deserves the "Worst of Genre" crown. Enjoyment in 40's rom-com or no, the shot of a group of workers smashing fluorescent light bulbs in the creepy dead space behind a big-box store captures almost all that needs to be said about hourly-wage work in America today.

    Anyhow, I'm with you on JUST FRIENDS. Smart's pretty, and game, but not so funny, and as a result, I feel like Faris at times comes off like she's stumbled into the wrong movie. They should've swapped her with someone possessing Faris's physical comedy acumen - someone who could've really played out the whole "duck-behind-the-bar" business, or the pratfall on the ice pond. Reynolds is only credible because he's got Chris Klein opposite going even further overboard. Best fake "guitar-playing face" ever.

    But I think what's most valuable here is the move away not from "sex" comedies, but from the whole "gross-out" jag and back into near-sadist Three Stooges territory. Gotta give it to the sound team here: each fall, punch, kick, and slap feels closer to MORTAL KOMBAT than NOTTING HILL. If I had to give this one an Oscar, it'd toss it to them...