Friends with Benefits


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"I can work with that "

Sept 12, 2011

I'm really not sure how it happens but every couple of years in Hollywood we get movies released which more or less have identical plotlines within a couple of months of each other. It's easy to accuse the later release of copying the former but knowing how long it takes for a film to enter production is normally down to coincidence(more on that in an upcoming feature). This year we managed to get two movies about Fuck buddies. That's what they are, I don't care how they word it (in the films) to make it sound more wholesome. Below you'll find a review for Friends with Benefits Click Here to be taken to the No Strings Attached review.

Friends with Benefits had little chance to impress me. The exact same plot as No Strings Attached (a movie I wasn't a fan of) released only a few months later starring a very similar cast. It was neigh on impossible to watch this without comparing it to what came before. That's never a good sign.

Throughout this review I'll be constantly referring back to No Strings Attached (NSA) as that's the experience I had when watching this.

The plot is a simple one Jamie (Mila Kunis) and Dylan (Justine Timberlake) become friends through their work. Becoming friends with benefits (come on you know what that means) things get complicated as they begin to develop feeling toward one another.

While the plot is very similar to NSA they immediately score more points with the fact that the characters are actually friends. As I said in my NSA review most rom coms have the same basic plot but we watch them for the cast and slight variations in style. Friends with Benefits managed to surprise me , while following the same basic template it manages to send up the romantic comedy genre ala Scream. By commentating on basic rom com conventions it allowed the film to side step a couple of the genres clich├ęs and feel all the more fresh for it.

Mila Kunis is outstanding in this and shows up her former co-stars from NSA. While Natalie Portman may have danced circles around her in Black Swan it clear that Kunis is a far more effective comedian. She's also infinitely more likable than her that 70's show alum Kutcher. This is no easy feat considering that her voice is ungodly irritating. No matter how good the film's success depends on the partnership of her onscreen partner Timberlake.

Justin is every bit on par with Kunis and really shines in the comedy role. Proving that his choice to transition into acting from singing was the right one. As Portman and Kutcher proved in NSA some actors lack chemistry together onscreen but no so here. It's always nice to see when actors click and their joy transitions off the screen.

When watching NSA there was actually and element that I hadn't considered when it came to the overall feel of the production. The supporting cast rarely add that much to a rom com (with a few exceptions) as the focus is on the main couple and rightly so. Friends with benefits changes this with everyone having a time to shine from brilliant cameos from Emma Stone, Andy Samberg and Jason Segel to name but a few. That along with the man Woody Harrelson.

When I saw the trailer I was astonished that he was playing a gay man in the movie. It looked so foolish and wholly unbelievable, I mean its Harrelson. Was it silly? Yeah but it worked as he played a mananiser (yes it's a new term) dropping silly puns and lines with a gay flavour. He was the gay Barney Stinson (How I met your Mother).

Friends with Benefits has some truly snappy dialogue earning its 15 certificate. It's basically a rom com with gross out humour. The sexual antics actually play a large part in the story and the comedy relies on it (unlike NSA). Watching Justin Timberlake try to pee with an erection had me laughing out loud not something I expected going into this.

I'm sure not everyone will agree but Rom Coms are made for the female gender. Hollywood for years has been pumping out stories of endless love that most men couldn't give a shite about. In fact most guys were probably dragged to the cinema in protest. Friends with Benefits is the first Rom Com I have seen that can appeal to both sexes. What is surprising about this is the fact that the film is defiantly a rom com at heart but with a few little tweaks has widened its accessibility. Let's hope this is the future of the rom com because I can see a reversal of the common staple. Men with be dragging women to the theatre (yes I know this excludes the gay community but that's what happens when you generalise).

Friends with Benefits was a pleasant surprise and is far better than the trailers would have you believe (even though they looked pretty good). It may not be entirely realistic but it is fun and something that I'd be willing to watch a second time. Something that can't be said about No Strings Attached.

Click Here to read my less than enthusiastic review of No Strings Attached.


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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director: Will Gluck
Screenplay: Keith Merryman
David A. Newman
Released: 2011
Rating: 15
Starring: Mila Kunis
Justin Timberlake
Woody Harrelson