Cocktails and Movies Take Out Theater: “Just Friends”

by Mike Reyes

Cocktails and Movies Swears (By The Moon, And The Stars, And The Sky) That You’ll Love This Movie As More Than A Friend!

Cocktails and Movies Take Out theater Just FriendsLess than aweek until Christmas, and we’re still muddling through here 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails at C&M. The Boss is in Michigan, and I’m in New Jersey, but we’re both on the same time zone now – so that’s something. Other than that, we’re just preparing some stuff around here for the Holiday season: the stockings are hung by the copier with care, in hopes that somebody will notice they’re there. (I forget, did we remember to let the Interns out?)

Naturally, with another week of merriment around these parts, we have another #TakeOutTheater pick for you to indulge in, and it’s another Christmas comedy. I can’t top Boss Tim’s pick of A Midnight Clear, because I haven’t seen any other really good serious Christmas themed movies that are obscure enough for note. I’ve seen Die Hard, but so has everyone! I’m sure a fair number of you have seen Love Actually, and if not then maybe I’ll pimp it for Valentine’s Day. (It’s The Nightmare Before Christmas for the Chick Flick set.)

So, it was either The Holiday or Just Friends, and judging by the fact that my brothers and I seem to be the only people that have seen it (at least, to my knowledge), the pick was obvious. (I will note though that I LOVE The Holiday, and might beg The Boss for a special Christmas Eve Take Out Theater column to compliment whatever he decides to pick on Christmas Day.)

The Film

Just Friends
Director:
Roger Kumble
Year Released: 2005
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Farris, Christopher Marquette, Chris Klein, and Julie Hagerty
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: New Line

The Friend Zone: an area so vast and desolate of emotion, you could swear it was a peninsula in the Antarctic. So lonely… so frightening… so frustrating! Chris Brander (Reynolds) learns this the hard way on Graduation Night 1995, when he finally (read: inadvertently) confesses to his best friend Jamie Palamino (Smart) that he loves her. He pours his heart out in a Yearbook page, giving her the full weight of his emotional crush on her. And what happens? It turns out said yearbook winds up in the possession of a cruel jock, who then proceeds to read the rather “embarrassing when read aloud” post to the entirety of Jamie’s graduation party. Adding insult to injury, Jamie then confesses her love for Chris, but it’s a platonic love. Shamed and upset, the overweight Chris spends the next 10 years becoming a Record Company hot shot in California, and womanizing any cute girl who’ll cross his path. Secure, insecure, stable, insane… he’s bagged them all. And just when a mishap with one of the insane ones (Farris) lands him in his home state of New Jersey (the last place he wants to be), it seems that Fate has given him a chance to put Jamie in the Friend Zone for a change. Either that, or get into some embarrassingly comic hijinks in his home town. But what are the odds of that happening?

I know, it’s another Christmas Comedy and The Boss had a great pick with a Christmas War Film. I can’t help it! My family and I watch a lot of Christmas staples in our house, and a lot of them happen to be Comedies. We’ve always been a family of laughers, and this movie is especially resonant with my brothers and I because the relationship between Ryan Reynolds and Christopher Marquette is a more vicious brand of the camaraderie that we sometimes display on the battleground known as our parent’s house. This movie is a Christmas Comedy gem that is somehow severely overlooked! Director Roger Kumble is no stranger to the genre of under the radar Comedy gems, as he also directed the equally underrated The Sweetest Thing, as well as not so Cult 90’s classic Cruel Intentions. Kumble somehow manages to take the first two films and infuse them with the same sensibilities that take all the tropes of a Chick Flick and manage to turn them into really, really versions of what others have so mildly done.

Cocktails and Movies Take Out Theater Just Friends Amy Adams, Chris Klein, Ryan ReynoldsIf there were a movie that perfectly displayed Ryan Reynolds’ trademark quick wit and dramatic capabilities, it’s this one… albeit he does more comedic lifting than dramatic. (It IS a RomCom, after all.) But what’s probably the best thing about this movie is that while Reynolds is front and center, he has a HELL of a supporting cast to work with! This is the movie that forever made me rethink Chris Klein as an actor, considering his previous role in American Pie had him pegged as rather the dullard. His nerd turned antagonist Dusty Lee (nee Dinkleman) is perfect villain material, being completely mild one moment and the next completely evil. Ditto for Anna Farris, who made a career out of playing it dumb in the Scary Movie series, only to take this role and play a completely psychotic pop star. I’ve dated some interesting characters in my time, but none of them have approached the level of mania and malice that Samantha James shows in this movie, and I’m all the more thankful for it every time I watch this movie. So grab a bunch of friends, some of whom you might even love more than friends, throw this into your DVD or Blu Ray player, and see if you too remember all the words to All 4 One’s “I Swear.” (Bonus Points if you can sing the song while NOT laughing hysterically at Fat Suited Ryan Reynold’s lip syncing the words at the beginning!)

A Fun Fact about this movie: it’s supposed to take place in my native state of New Jersey, yet it was filmed in Regina, Saskatchewan. For all we know, the snow was completely authentic, as there’s plenty of it decorating the set throughout the film. Which is perfect, as today’s 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails entry is the rather fitting…

White Russian Egg Cream

Ingredients

2 oz. Stoli Vanil Vodka
1 oz. Kahlua
½ cup Whole Milk
Club Soda

Instructions
Pour the Stoli Vanil, Kahlua, and Milk into a Cocktail Shaker. Shake well for 10-15 seconds, then transfer to a chilled tall glass. Slowly add Club Soda to the glass, stirring the mixture gently as you pour. Getting the desired frothy texture works best with a soda gun, so for that soda fountain feel, an old fashioned spritzer bottle is the way to go. If you are simply pouring the soda out of a bottle, be sure to stir it well enough to create some froth.

Thanks to Taste Book for the exerpt from Schiller’s Liquor Bar: Cocktail Collection by Keith McNally, the very book we’ve been pushing this Holiday season! And a special thanks to all of you out there who read #TakeOutTheater, as you’re the reason we do this sort of thing! Well that, and we don’t want to ever have to pay a bar tab ever again! If you have any picks you’d like to throw our way, movie or drink wise, send ’em to us through the usual channels: Facebook, Twitter, the Comments below, or good old fashioned email!