Saturday 23 July 2011

Movie Review: Friends With Benefits

I liked it. It's a formula; it's your standard rom-com, romantic comedy and even before it starts, you know the butler did it. But you watch it anyway. Why? We're all a bunch of romantic saps. We love it when couple meets; couple seems to click; couple falls apart then couple comes back for the fairy tale finale. Heck, it's been done over and over and over again but there we are, feeling that bit of emotion welling up in our eyes as the camera fades to they lived happily ever after.

Of course, let's not forget the two important parts of a rom-com that works: a good script and a couple who meshes.

The story written by a team which included the director is smart, snappy and hip. Mom moves temporarily with daughter then says she doesn't want to interrupt daughter from having sex with boyfriend by saying, "I don't want to be a t**t block." Considering that c**k block is only a fairly recent addition to this old dufus's vocabulary, that made me chuckle.

The second magic ingredient is the couple and Justin Timberlake as Dylan and Mila Kunis as Jamie do make a good one. If you don't recognise the name Mila Kunis, her big start was as the character Jackie Burkhart in the television comedy series That '70s Show. And Mr. Timberlake? He did a good job in the movie The Social Network and does a good job here. Our singer slash musical entertainer may end up with multiple careers if he doesn't already have them. His presence on screen has star power and I can picture this gentleman moving on to even bigger and better things.

As well as our stars, the others in the cast are terrific in their respective supporting roles. Patricia Clarkson as Jamie's mother and Woody Harrelson as Dylan's over the top gay colleague at work add a touch of spice to the story. You will recognise a few other faces like Emma Stone, Richard Jenkins, Jenna Elfman and Andy Samberg. All good stuff.

This is the second film this year (No Strings Attached; Jan 21/2011) to have the idea of a couple getting together just to have sex. Of course, for the purposes of the romance, love wins out in the end. Could we possibly imagine otherwise? How successful would a film be if the couple only had sex then split up? We demand romance! Getting there though has to be fun. Our couple, in making their initial agreement to avoid the problems of love by not getting involved romantically, say that sex is just a physical act like playing tennis and friends can play tennis together. Oddly enough, tennis includes the term "love" (love = zero points) so could I humorously point out that their comparison of sex to tennis inadvertently meant that they had not escaped love at all.

Final Word
As I said, I enjoyed it. Now this isn't some big special effects blockbuster which absolutely demands a theatre size screen with a honking 15 thousand watt sound system, so if you wait to rent it to watch it on your TV, you can save a few shekels. But if you do decide to go out, you will spend an enjoyable hour and 47 minutes, have some good laughs and get to see the couple walk hand in hand into the sunset and you'll feel good about it. Isn't that why we keep going back to watch romantic comedies? We like to laugh and love.


Rotten Tomatoes: Friends With Benefits: 71%
Friends with Benefits adds nothing new to its well-worn rom-com formula, but the chemistry between Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis is almost enough to carry the movie by itself.

Wikipedia: Friends With Benefits (film)
Friends with Benefits is an American romantic comedy film directed by Will Gluck, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. The film features an ensemble cast which includes Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Patricia Clarkson. Filming began on July 13, 2010 in New York City and wrapped in September 2010 in Los Angeles. The film is distributed by Screen Gems and was released in North America on July 22, 2011.

official movie web site: Friends With Benefits
[The site opens with Justin and Mila giving a serious slash amusing call to fill a void in social media namely that there is no relationship status called Friends With Benefits. I had to chuckle at the last 3 seconds of this clip. Or how about when Justin looks up stage right with a facial expression indicating concentration then you realise he's concentrating on checking out Mila's tush. Mr. Timberlake has the makings of a star.]


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