Tuesday, February 4, 2014

No Strings Attached (2011) [R] ***

Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) first met at summer camp when they were young teenagers. In the following fifteen years they crossed paths several times, but the timing was never right. Now they are both living in L.A. where Emma is a physician doing her residency, and Adam is a production assistant on a teen-oriented TV series (think Glee) who would love to be a writer. Again they meet cute and after some quick early morning sex, the relationship-phobic Emma proposes they become friends with benefits, using each other for sex with no strings attached, anytime and anyplace. Adam, naturally, loves the idea. The obvious questions are... which one of them will fall in love with the other one first, and will their friendship survive?

Directed by the talented and prolific Ivan Reitman (Stripes, Ghostbusters, Dave, Six Days Seven Nights, My Super Ex-Girlfriend) this is a fairly predictable romantic comedy. We've seen the story told before, and beyond the clich├ęs, the elements that save this film are the terrific chemistry between Portman and Kutcher, and some bits of memorable dialogue. No Strings Attached is much lighter and more carefree than the recent, darker, but somewhat similar Love and Other Drugs, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. If you liked that film, or if you are a fan of Ivan Reitman's romantic comedies, then you'll probaby enjoy No Strings Attached. However, Friends with Benefits, starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, is a far better riff on the same theme. [Blogger's rating: *** out of 5 stars.]

The supporting cast includes Kevin Kline, Cary Elwes, Greta Gerwig, Lake Bell and Olivia Thirlby.

Labels: comedy, romance 
Internet Movie Database 
Metacritic 50/100 
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=52, viewers=66) 

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