The story goes that Ryan Reynolds was a sensitive fat kid in high school, in love with his oblivious, slightly aloof best friend (Amy Smart). He leaves his Central Jersey hometown in shame, and ten year's later he's a slim, charming, vapid ladies' man with a high-paying job in show biz. He's meant to court a manic, untalented, hot young pop star (a slightly exaggerated Avril Lavigne/Ashlee Simpson type) so that she agrees to sign her next record with his company. En route to a romantic Parisian weekend at her insistence, the plain is forced to land in Trenton ... over Christmas ... and Reynolds will visit his hometown for the first time since he graduated from high school. You see where all this ends up going. You probably can figure out 95% of the plot and 75% of the gags simply from this description. (Hint: Chris Klein has a role, too, and he also went from being "not hot" in high school to "hot" in his late 20s.) How tacked-on are the emotional progressions of all the characters, though? Normally in movies like this, which press the sentimental romance button at appropriate times (as this one does), there's at least an attempt to finesse out some kind of an emotional arc. Not here. The only appropriate word to describe the "emotional core" of the bond described to us between Reynolds' protagonist and Smart's object of affection is clusterfuck.
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So why did I really watch this movie? Anna Faris! She doesn't reach the same heights as she does in Smiley Face, but as in The Hot Chick she has a "scene-stealing" presence. (In fact, in The Hot Chick Faris herself plays the "best friend" with romantic inclinations toward her BFF.) Here she plays none other than the pop star Samantha. What makes the performance so rewarding is that she acts as though she were in a movie and she's constantly flummoxed by the fact that the plot is always moving away from her. Her little tics, her movements, her schizophrenic consciousness blurted out from moment to moment. I mean, Faris is making Samantha act this way, as part of the character who knows and acts as if she were in a movie or tv show. It's a level of meta that the rest of the film doesn't really approach.