Thursday, 15 September 2011

Friends With Benefits: Movie Review

Friends With Benefits: Movie Review

Friends With Benefits
Rating: 7/10
Cast: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins, Woody Harrelson
Director: Will Gluck
Haven't we already done this before with No Strings Attached starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman in the past 12 months?
Well, sort of.
Mila Kunis stars as corporate headhunter Jamie who first meets graphic designer Dylan Harper (Justin Timberlake) when she's trying to get him to relocate from LA to take a job with GQ in New York. Harper's initially reticent to take the post as he's not convinced the move is the right thing for him. But Jamie takes him for a night on the town and that persuades him to up sticks and move to the Big Apple.
But Harper doesn't really know anyone and so he latches onto Jamie and the two become friends.
Who then decide a little casual sex won't necessarily be a bad thing - as long as it doesn't lead to complications....
As romantic comedies go, Friends With Benefits is a bouncy, fun, light, frothy cappuccino of the genre; it's got a pacy opening and some zingy funny dialogue - as well as young things exposing a fair bit (and butt) of flesh.
That in mind, it's actually got a fair bit going for it - in particular, Kunis who cut her comedic chops on TV sitcom, That 70s Show. She outshines Timberlake in comic timing, playful sexiness and great delivery of some punchy oneliners while batting those big seductive eyes. It's not that Timberlake's terrible, just that he's not on the same level as her when it comes to the comedy and ends up more goofy than plausible.
There's a bit of a lull when the film relocates from the fun of NY to Harper's more serious home family situation in LA and despite another brilliant turn from Richard Jenkin, the energy dip nearly becomes critical for the movie.
A good solid ensemble cast, including a cameo from the superb Emma Stone, a hippyish free loving Patricia Clarkson as Jamie's mother and Woody Harrelson as a gay sports editor at GQ makes this something a little less predictable for the rom com genre. Sure, there's a bit of dissecting of the tenets of the rom-com world by the pair as they scoff at the banalities and predictabilities of Hollywood's romantic world view (even former Grey's Anatomy starlet and now romcom stable Katherine Heigl gets dissed), but it's all part of the overall mix.

All in all, despite the blatantly shoe-horned in product placement and repeated flash mobbing, Friends With Benefits will surprise you - it'll make you laugh when you don't expect it and actually leave you with a fluffy glow as you depart the cinema.

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