Just Friends

or How To Learn To Appreciate Your Favorite Actor’s Adorable Rubber Face

….. by TeeJay

Just Friends

The Plot

Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) is quite the attractive young and successful agent in the music business. At 27, he is working for an LA agency, living the yuppie life of a hip and trendy young man, out in the big city, long having left his small-town homely family life behind. Cute dates are a dime a dozen and Chris prides himself on being the authority on dating advice to his friends.

One day his boss asks him to accompany this obnoxious, spoiled, blond singer Samantha James (Anna Faris) to Paris. And Samantha is totally into Chris, but the attraction is not mutual. On the flight, Sam blows up the microwave and forces an emergency evacuation due to fire; they get stranded in New Jersey, in the middle of winter. Oh, what a quaint little coincidence that Chris’s mom still lives here. So Chris takes Samantha by the hand to go visit his mother and younger brother in his old home. And because of the bad weather conditions, they are stranded there for a couple of days. As happenstance has it, Chris’s younger brother Mike (Chris Marquette) is a huge fan of Samantha’s. And he’s totally stoked that Chris brought his idol (well, wet dream, more like) to their house.

Chris completely hates the narrow-mindedness of his little hometown, but there’s a light on the horizon when he meets his old best friend again. Jamie (Amy Smart), still as attractive as he remembers her, but not quite as successful, now working as a waitress in a local bar. He and Jamie were best friends in high school, back when Chris still weighed about a hundred pounds more and desperately wanted to be more than “just friends” with her. Which never happened, despite several desperate and clumsy attempts.

So Chris sees his chance now to win Jamie back, and can’t help but try. What he didn’t take into account is his rival Dusty (Chris Klein), who also tried to win Jamie’s heart in high school but never succeeded. Dusty is now a paramedic and is quite adept at playing the guitar and using it to impress Jamie, along with his seemingly limitless charm. And Chris can just see how he’s losing the battle, especially with that clumsiness that seems to follow him like gum stuck to his shoe whenever he is around Jamie.

And while both Chris and Dusty court young and attractive Jamie, Chris asks his younger brother Mike to watch and take care of Samantha, who so desperately wants Chris’s attention and affection. And since Mike isn’t exactly the most responsible guy, very soon chaos ensues. Of course it remains to be seen whether Chris and Jamie actually make it in the end, but Chris manages to thoroughly embarrass himself along the way.

The Character

Mike Brander. If I had to describe him in two words, I’d have to say: adorable horndog. Visually, Chris wears his hair petty long and straight as Mike. The look is casual—jeans and t-shirts or sweaters. When outside in the cold, he even wears a toque, reminds you a lot of Adam Rove. Except when Mike opens his mouth, things come out that Adam would never say.

Mike is somewhat the exaggerated picture of any normal 18-year-old. He’s quite outgoing, perky and has the hots for good-looking women, this one singer in particular. His walls are covered in more or less catchy magazine posters of one Samantha James. And he openly admits he “slaps the ham” to them more than once a day.

Mike is probably the nightmare of a younger brother. He’ll embarrass you in public with inappropriate things he will say or do. He stares at women’s boobs and might get you in trouble by doing really stupid things when you hang out with him. When he’s together with his older brother, they slap each other around almost constantly. Nevertheless, he does have a heart somewhere in there because when it comes down to it, he loves his family.

Here’s also an excerpt from the production notes:

The hardest role for the filmmakers to cast was that of Mike, Chris Brander’s bratty younger brother. “We searched high and low for the right actor to play Mike,” says director Roger Kumble. “Christopher Marquette fit the bill. His relationship with his brother was identical to that of Chris and Mike in the film. What’s funny is that it’s so relatable.”

Responds Christopher Marquette, “Mike is a wiseass, a jerk-off little brother. The best part about playing him is that he only cares about himself. The challenge is creating an entire world where, in every scene, all I have to do is try to make the funniest decisions that just come from myself. He’s one of those guys that’ll never grow up. He’ll be sixty years old and still slapping his older brother. It’s like a typical relationship between brothers.”
Source: www.moviepublicity.com/docs/just_friends_prodnotes.doc

The Likes

If you hadn’t noticed before, you will notice in this movie that Chris has the most awesome little rubber face, as Deb put it. The grimaces you see him do will make you smile or smirk or laugh. Just looking at certain screencaps from this movie will make me smile instantly, they’re so funny. While I could have done without the whole I-wanna-have-the-girl-I-could-never-get-in-high-school Ryan Reynolds parts, I just love the Chris bits in this movie.

We knew from The Girl Next Door that Chris isn’t only adept at drama, but also at comedy. He has an incredible comedic timing. He shows us again in this ditsy little comedy. His expressions and moves are spot-on, you totally believe that he’s Mike, the cute ‘lil horndog he aims at showing us.

The Dislikes

Everything except Chris. Well, okay, that’s maybe a little harsh. I really don’t like the movie from an overall standpoint. (I still bought the DVD, though—which says a lot about Chris’s performance.) This movie was a milestone for me. Not because it’s such a masterpiece or something to cherish, quite the opposite. It took me a long time to watch it for the first time. I think I’ve had it for over a month before I sat down and watched it. (And just to explain why I didn’t watch it in the theater, I live in Germany and the movie has yet to appear on German movie screens—if it ever will.)

Why was I so “scared” to delve into it? Well, you see, movies like this aren’t really my thing. I had heard bits and pieces about it, I had seen the website, seen the trailer. I knew Chris was gonna play a sort of horndoggy idiot-like guy in it and I knew that it would be this cheap comedy—American Pie style. And I didn’t particularly like American Pie. It sounded as if it was gonna be something very much along the lines of a silly, ditsy movie without a lot of depth and heaps of cheap laughs. And it was. Okay, I have to admit that I liked it better than I first thought, which is mostly thanks to Chris being so brilliantly goofy in it. But if Chris wasn’t in it, I wouldn’t even have thought about watching it.

Why? The story doesn’t have a lot of substance. Ryan Reynolds, while trying his best, is moderately funny at best and the whole thing about that girl you always wanted but could never have and is now being courted by your oldest rival gets real old real fast. Sorry guys, but as comedies go, this one’s really not at the top of my list.

The Moments

There are a couple of really cute Chris moments. First one would be The Tazer. When he sits there at the mall, playing with that tazer until it flies from his hand and hits Samantha, the look on his face is just hilarious. First total shock and then the little “Oops” moment afterwards. Too cute!

The Age Question. Samantha asks Mike how old he is. Of course he wants to impress her, so he goes, “I’m 22. 20. 19. Uhm… I’m 18.”

The Rrrrrrr. This can’t be described. You have to watch it. Makes me laugh every time how he imitates Samantha’s throaty rrrrrrrr sound and doesn’t quite succeed.

My favorite scene is what Deb tagged The Messy and Unsexy Massage. Also something you can’t describe.

The Homo. Mike calls his brother a homo a lot. When Chris (Brander) leaves his parents’ house, Mike is lying on the couch, asking Chris if he’s banged Jamie yet. Chris just ignores him. Too funny when Mike goes, “Raise your hand if your brother’s a homo.” and then raises his hand.

The Quotes

Mike: “Dude, she’s fine. Look at her, she’s having a good time. She’s got her toothpaste.”
Chris: “All you had to do is watch her for a few hours. What did you do to her?”
Mike: “Nothing! She’s all goopy from all the vicodin.”
Chris: “Where did you get the vicodin?”
Mike: “Mom?”

Samantha: “I mean, my sidekick broke and I haven’t had sex in, like, forever. I’m so horny. I’m horny. Wait a minute. How old are you?”
Mike: “I’m 22. 20. 19. Uhm… I’m 18.”

Mike: “Dude, The Notebook’s so gay.”

Chris: “If she wakes up, tell her I went to meet Bono.”
Mike: “You’re gonna meet Bono? I wanna come.”
Chris: “No, you walking void, it’s a lie. But if she wakes up, tell her I’ll be back in a bit.”

Mike: “How did it go with Jamie last night, did you boink her? That would be a no. Raise your hand if your brother’s a homo. All right, keep in touch.”

The Co-Stars

There’s not that much to say, other than that Ryan Reynolds and Chris were quite good at getting across the brotherly love/hate relationship with each other. And poor Anna Faris. Although she managed very well to make Samantha James that dumb blonde that she came across as. Overall, given the confines of the movie, they all did a pretty good job.

The Critics

I’m sure there’s tons of reviews out there about the movie, but I’d like to mention the one posted on Ain’t It Cool News:

But what really lets Reynolds do his thing is the group of comedians surrounding him. Most notable among them is young actor Chris Marquette, best known as the porn loving Eli in The Girl Next Door, who steals scene after scene as Reynolds’ younger brother. While his role almost entirely consists of himself and Reynolds beating the crap out of one another or joking about how many times in a day he masturbates, Marquette delivers them with all the sleazy charm of a young Willy Ames and has earned a place as my favorite goofy sleazebag sidekick since George Clooney’s turn in Return of the Killer Tomatoes. While the comedy he is a part of really is lowest common denominator fare, Marquette peppers it with just the right amount of brotherly affection to make it genuine, bringing it up out of the gutter and into the realm of the truly funny.
Source: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/21834

Yep. I can only nod when I read that.


There are a few cool extras on this one, background and behind-the-scenes information, bloopers, that sort of thing. And a lot of them are introduced by Chris, so the Dorquettes get a little bit of Chris exposure. He’s kinda cute in his little stripy orange toque there.

It’s too funny when he talks about the friggin’ cold temperatures in Saskatchewan, where the movie was shot: “You walk out and you have no genitals. You’re like a Ken doll. Huh! Where did they go?!” You just have to see this!

There’s also a little snippet where some of the actors and crew talk about people they were “just friends” with. And Chris tells us about a girl he once knew: “Oh, dude! Listen, I know, Nancy! Oh yeah, dude, totally. Oh man, she drove me cra– I know, everyone has got one of those people. There was this really, really sweet girl named Elizabeth. And it was just like a wall, like you cannot get through me.”

Don’t expect too much, though. Overall Chris screen time in all the specials is maybe two or three minutes at best. It’s all just little snippets, really. He isn’t in any of the bloopers except for one, and then only for a second. The specials really only focus on Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Chris Klein and things from the movie that don’t feature Mike Brander.

The Trivia

….. by Sisterdebmac

I often wonder how Chris felt about having to say “The Notebook’s so gay.” since he worked with that film’s director, Nick Cassavetes on Alpha Dog and has said in interviews that Nick is his hero.

The Links

We have vidcaps of pretty much all of Chris’s Just Friends specials in the Media section and screencaps in the Image Gallery.