Friends with Benefits

When it comes to relationships, there’s always that age-old question of “Can there be a physical relationship without the emotional?” Well, Hollywood decided this year to give us two tales of it. Earlier in the year, Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman starred in No Strings Attached and now Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis give us another take on the subject in Friends with Benefits.

Since I did watch No Strings Attached, before I go in-depth about Friends with Benefits I will just do a quick comparison. When it came to the two, FwB was the more adult version. Strings to me took  more the high school adolescent route. I like both movies but appreciated FwB for taking that next step. Director Will Gluck seemed to do what he was able to achieve as far as boundary lines as he did with last year’s Easy A and take it to the next level.

What made this movie work well was the fact that it actually made fun of itself. Knowing that the subject has been a Hollywood cliché, Gluck took that knowledge and had his characters focus on that. A great sequence in the film that had Television’s How I Met Your Mother‘s Jason Segel and The Office‘s Rashida Jones star in a movie inside this movie. Yes another Hollywood cliché but it worked well here.

I don't believe this is one of the benefits Timberlake signed up for.

Friends with Benefits sped through the first half of the movie in a sprint fashion. At first I was turned off by it but in hindsight it was for the best to set the groundwork of the film and get to the bulk of the story quicker. By the middle of the film is when all the supporting characters started to appear and the film took off. Timberlake and Kunis did well to hold their own but it’s when Woody Harrelson and Patricia Clarkson entered that everything seemed to come together. Playing the flamboyant gay sports editor at GQ Magazine where Timberlake’s Dylan works, Harrelson provides great comic lines that will leave you in stitches. His character is a superb supporting counterpart of the male lead. Playing the equally superb supporting counterpart of the female lead is Clarkson playing Kunis’s mother. We quickly learn that she will never earn mother of the year awards but still shows how much she cares for her daughter. There are a few other recognizable faces that will entertain including Richard Jenkins and snowboarder Shawn White who plays himself in a humorous bit part amongst others.

Overall I have to say I enjoyed Friends with Benefits more than I thought I would. I wasn’t expecting much from Timberlake especially after his so-so performance in last month’s Bad Teacher but was pleasantly surprised.


Posted on July 19, 2011, in Film Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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