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Friends with Benefits

A 2011 movie directed by Will Gluck.

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Friends with Benefits

  • Jul 22, 2011
Rating:
+2
If you find yourself walking to the theater and not wanting to see a superhero movie, you may turn to the romantic comedy Friends With Benefits and think to yourself I've already seen this movie. While the premise is exactly the same as No Strings Attached, FWB seems to benefit from having taken the extra time to develop their writing and the chemistry between the two leads. It is still the same movie but this version of friends who just want the physical without all the emotional baggage is better.

A lot of the success of the movie is based on the chemistry between the two leads. They are both super sexy people with a lot of charisma and are each easy to like and neither are strangers to comedies. Mila Kunis got her start on the sitcom “That 70’s Show,” while her co-star Justin Timberlake was recently nominated for his work on “Saturday Night Live.” While both have been dabbling in a couple of Academy Award nominated movies, it is nice to see them get back to what they have done so well in the past.

A big part of the success also comes from the writing team of Keith Merryman, David Newman, and director Will Gluck who creates a sharply written movie filled with witty back and forth banter. The guys were on a role and put in a lot of material for their actors to work with. The jokes came at the audience so fast it was easy to miss a couple comebacks while you were laughing at the third joke in. The first half of the movie is full of one-liners and gentle ribbing.

There is also plenty of ribbing of the very genre they are trying to succeed in. The movie goes to task on the rom-com and all the pitfalls of the genre. But almost in the same breath while shouting out all the wrongs of their genre Gluck than goes ahead and commits all his previously mentioned sins as if he didn’t know how else to execute the movie. Just because you acknowledge all of the clichés doesn’t give you full reign to commit them yourself, in fact it probably makes it worse. At the very least he seems to acknowledge the wrongs himself, the biggest ones all being committed towards the end of the movie.

One such sin often poked fun at is the music selection of romantic comedies to help the audience know exactly how they should feel at the moment. And while the song selection performs just as our characters explained they are supposed to I loved almost every song they picked and was left to humming most of the tunes as I left the theater. Except “Hey Soul Sister” that song is a worse affront to human ears than an ice pick.

The first half of the movie is fun and witty and sexy, but due to the fact that this is a romantic comedy everyone in the audience knows that this can’t last. Faster than you can say Kriss Kross the movie makes the abrasive jump to sappy romance. All of a sudden we go from great dialogue to sappy stories of family tragedy, which helps to explain blah, blah, blah.

It actually isn’t all bad; Richard Jenkins is really impressive as JT’s dad. If you allow yourself to truly get involved with the story his is heartbreaking and Jenkins does well in the role. Rounding out his family is his sister Jenna Elfman and her son Nolan Gould (the kid from ‘Modern Family’). The kid is good, but I would have loved to see a little more of Elfman doing anything besides just moving the story along. Mila’s mommy is played by Patricia Clarkson who Will Gluck once again casts for the role of mother. She is solid in the role and has some great moments but as a supporting character isn’t nearly as funny as Woody Harrelson as Justin’s gay sports editor. He is fantastic in everything he touches and has an ability to turn every scene on its head with perfect comic timing. The stand outs here are Jenkins and Harrelson but they all do a great job.

It’s tough to believe anyone as beautiful as Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis would have such dating problems, but if you put that thought on the side the movie is actually pretty fun. There is plenty of witty banter and self deprecating jokes to make you forget some of the hokier moments in the climax of the movie. And if that is not enough the two stars are naked for a decent section of the movie, so you should have something nice to stare at for a bit. B-

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July 23, 2011
When I saw the trailers for this, I thought about that flick with Kutcher and Portman. I may see this since I like Kunis but I have very mixed feelings with Timberlake (he did a good job in SOCIAL NETWORK though). Thanks for the great review!
 
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More Friends with Benefits (2011 mo... reviews
review by . July 22, 2011
‘Friends with Benefits' Has Some Benefits
Ashton Kutcher and the girl on everyone’s minds, Natalie Por…Oh, oh wait. How could I get No Strings Attached from earlier this year confused with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis’ Friends With Benefits? Yes, they’re the same plot; extremely attractive friends who decide sex is possible without emotional commitment and then are met with a whirlwind of romantic comedy clichés. But this one has a girl from That 70’s Show and the other …
review by . July 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
As engaging as a one-night stand, a decent one.
Dating is complicated. The scene today can be so cold and callous that most people in it are forced to disengage emotionally from it in order to survive. Enter Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis in Friends with Benefits, director Will Gluck’s follow-up to last fall’s breakout comedy, Easy A. They have a plan that will save everyone from the walls they’ve erected around their hearts by using those walls as the foundation for their mating practices. The logic is that if you’re …
Quick Tip by . December 20, 2011
Yes, this is the same story as that Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman flick, No Strings Attached. I just like the chemistry and acting of JT/Mila Kunis much better. There was more comedy in this one and yes, of course, the same message of the impossibility of guys and gals being eff buddies, so they have no choice but to fall in love with them. Then again, who wouldn't fall for JT? Just sayin...There were better scenes in this one and Woody Harrelson who added so much to this film as a gay Sports editor, …
review by . July 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Although the January release of Ivan Reitman’s No Strings Attached was nothing special, it had just enough for me to give it a passing grade. We now have Will Gluck’s Friends with Benefits, and although it’s founded on the exact same premise – a man and a woman having a go at casual sex – there’s no question in my mind which of the two films is superior. Here is an intelligent, perfectly cast romantic comedy that …
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Last Login: Dec 11, 2012 10:01 PM UTC
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About this movie

Wiki

While trying to avoid the clichés of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) soon discover however that adding the act of sex to their friendship does lead to complications.
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Details

Director: Will Gluck
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: 22 July 2011 (USA)
Studio: Castle Rock Entertainment, Olive Bridge Entertainment, Screen Gems
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