FRIENDS: THE REUNION (TV SPECIAL)
(director/writer: Ben Winston; screenwriters: based on the TV show by David Crane & Marta Kauffman; editor: Guy Harding; cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer; Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; HBO Max; 2021)
“Nothing interested me here, I seem to be looking for my kind of film in the right pew but wrong church.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
If “Friends” turns out to be a joyous trip down memory lane for fans of the popular long-running TV sitcom show (1994 to 2004, 10 seasons and 236 episodes), then it’s probably a TV series they liked and are sad it’s gone. I’m not a TV guy and never saw one of its episodes, but I know I didn’t care for the dizzying and talky Ben Winston(“One Direction: A Year in the Making”) film version of the TV show.
The story’s about the stars of the TV show–Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer–returning to the show’s original soundstage (reconstructed for the occasion), Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank for a real-life unscripted celebration of the applauded show. In turn, it’s a hodgepodge of cameos, interviews and talking-head fawning commentaries. It celebrates actors who were mostly unknown when the show started and because of the show’s wide international appeal the cast are now household names.
One segment finds the actors gathered in the space formerly known as Monica’s living room. There they play an updated version of Ross’s famous trivia game. There’s many other memorable segments that include a blooper reel, a fashion show and Lisa Kudrow & Lady Gaga singing a duet of “Smelly Cat.”
Anything seems to go here, no matter how trivial or silly. It even includes in its outlandish celebration a fashion show that finds Justin Bieber dressed as a potato.
Besides being a reunion film, it’s also a marketing ploy that spreads the word of the show’s move to HBO Max.
Nostalgia is its calling card. It seems to be telling us popularity is better to have than a show with a good script.
Nothing interested me here, I seem to be looking for my kind of film in the right pew but wrong church.
REVIEWED ON 6/5/2021 GRADE: C