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Good Actors, Bad Movies – Anna Faris is Funnier than You September 2, 2008

Posted by The Ringer in Good Actors Bad Movies.
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‘Just Friends’ (2005) is a Christmas story of Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) and his unrequited love for his high school BFF, Jamie Palimino (Amy Smart). It’s another mediocre Romantic Comedy/Family Christmas flick that could be overlooked if it wasn’t for its funniest character; Samantha James, played by Anna Faris.  Ms. Samantha James is a vapid, psychotic, obsessive, and talentless pop singer, kinda like Britney Spears, only without the whole Down-Syndrome look. Samantha’s career booms after her deliciously tasteful poster (pictured below) becomes the best selling poster in all of capitalism. Faris’ performance is just an impression of the America’s worst mom, but it is one of the best female comedic performances since Madeline Kahn in ‘Blazing Saddles,’ a 34 year gap.

This sundae is missing just one topping...

This sundae is missing just one topping...

Fact; women don’t get prominent, funny parts in Hollywood anymore. Try and think of one. Think of all the funny movies that have come out in the past decade. All of them star dudes like Will Ferrel, Steve Carrel, Ben Stiller, the fat kid from ‘Superbad’ or Jack Black (wait…Jack Black isn’t funny.) Ellen Page in ‘Juno’ is a borderline exception to the rule. She performed well enough but it was all deadpanned lines that relied on smart ‘n sassy dialogue. Amy Poehler did, kinda, break the mold in ‘Mr. Woodcock’ as Stifler’s alcoholic, bitchfest-agent, but she only has 15 minutes of screen time. This leaves Faris as the only woman acting in Hollywood getting roles that lets her flex her funny muscles [Ed. note: Heh, heh…funny muscle] in a true leading role.

Faris’ is mostly known as the chic with DSLs from the ‘Scary Movies,’ in which she doesn’t do much but gawk, mouth wide open, which is all that was needed to make fun of Jennifer Love-Hewitt, but in ‘Just Friends’ she throws down with the big boys. Her character is out-of-control horny, spoiled, loud, obnoxious, talentless, possessive and a bitch, everything a pop star should be. And Faris’ sells it. Her hopelessly stupid and narcissistic decisions derail everyone’s Christmas without her ever noticing and it’s fun to watch.

Even though Samantha James is annoying from start to finish, Faris’ charm and enthusiasm for the role convince you to root for her. You want her to ruin everyone’s Christmas. She makes Amy Smart’s acting look on par with Tara Reid, wait…bad example…Faris makes Ryan Reynolds’ seem as entertaining as Dane Cook, who is the opposite of entertaining, who is boring and aggravating. Now that I think of it, Dane Cook would’ve been a better fit than Reynolds as the feeble and inept Chris Brander.

Overall, there are much worse romantic comedies. The secondary characters have entertainment value and squeeze out some laughs, especially the Mom and the younger brother. But without Faris ‘Just Friends’ would be ‘Just Another Shitty Romedy.’ Despite all its faults I think you should give this movie a try, because forgiveness…is more than saying sorry.

Clutch Lines: “You and I are gonna be the greatest musical manager team since Jessica Simpson and her father only you and I get to “mreow” and they can’t, ’cause it’s illegal. I looked it up.”
“I’m sorry I’m not the most boring person ever!… I’m sorry I’m not poor!… I’m sorry I don’t have a fat ass!”
“Yeah I slapped the ham to it about an hour ago. – “What ham did you slap honey? I hope it wasn’t the one I just bought.”
***Side note: Jimmy James from ‘News Radio’ plays Reynolds’ boss. I mention this because Jimmy James is the man.

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