HBO Max Movie Review: Friends: The Reunion

For those who have waiting for the friends reunion special hoping for a new episode about how the 6 characters turned out 17 years later, they will be very disappointed. This special is nothing more than a talk show hosted by James Corden, some highlights and bloopers from the TV series “Friends”, that ran from 1994-2004. Interviews with the producers and cast members – but not much else, other than some guest stars including Tom Selleck and Lady Gaga.

One of the most remarkable things about television sitcoms is how rare the creation of a good or great one is. There is something called “pilot season” in television where producers throw money at hundreds of comedy-show ideas, and just about all of them fail. The reason for all that failure is that writing something funny is extremely difficult and coming up with a cast like Friends or Seinfeld, along with a group of writers, producers and directors that have chemistry is even more difficult, if not impossible. The best part of the “Friends Reunion” / documentary is learning about how impossible a show like Friends can be to assemble. Both Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow had contracts with other TV shows and pilots and they both were unlikely to being cast for Friends. Aniston filmed 3 episodes of Friends even though if her other pilot was bought by the Network, they would have had to re-shoot the first 3 episodes over again with a new actor.

From the first episode my opinion has always been that without actor Mathew Perry, who played Chandler Friends would never have have been huge 10 year hit it became. By far, Chandler was always the funniest character on the show, for the entire 10 year run. Unfortunately Perry has had a long term drug and alcohol problem, even during the latter years of the show. He also looks like he has aged the worst of the 6, and has awkward looking dental veneers that may have been installed as result of his years of drug abuse.

One thing about great sitcoms is that once an actor gets a great comedy show hit, the odds are extremely low that they will ever have another one. The one rare exception is Mary Tyler Moore who had 2 huge hits with the Dick Van Dyke Show and her own Mary Tyler Moore show.

For me, I thought the idea of having an episode of Friends shot about the future of the characters might have been a good idea, but perhaps it was too difficult to think of something that was satisfying enough for everyone.

I mostly agree with the below average Rotten Tomatoes ratings of 68% – and give Friends a recommendation only for the most die-hard Friends fans.

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