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I was able to see a sneak screening of this movie almost 1 month prior
to it's official release. I honestly walked in simply thinking I was
seeing another typical romantic comedy with my girlfriend. To my
surprise it was much more.
Timberlake plays an LA Blog Art Director who has just been recruited to work for GQ in New York by Kunis who is a headhunter. The two had great chemistry through out the movie.
What's funny is that even though it does contain the usual Cliché scenes that most romantic adult comedies contain, it does tend to poke fun at them and have some sort of realism to the plot.
Both Timberlake and Kunis are likable and really funny. Woody Harrelson was the best addition to support this younger cast. Harrelson plays a flamboyantly gay sports editor who goes from making sexual advances to JT, to offering him some pearls of wisdom with his love life.
I would have to say this movie was very enjoyable and if your skeptical about seeing it in the theaters, definitely put it on your "must rent" list.
I was expecting to have to compare this movie with No Strings Attached
(or whatever that movie with Ashton Kutcher was) all the way through
however I was pleasantly surprised that the story was a bit more
complex despite the obvious parallels.
Yes it's the typical "boy and girl decide to be friends only but end up loving each other" movie .... but I must admit that it was a lot smarter in the delivery. Timberlake and Kunis have a lot of chemistry on camera ... It's shot primarily in new york so expect the clichéd new york locations ...
The complexity of Timberlake's character is slowly revealed through the show as opposed to being revealed in the first 3 minutes like most other movies.
A good watch ... not slap your knee funny but certainly entertaining to the end ... clichés and all
What I can say for Friends with Benefits is that it's a cute movie that
doesn't reach it's full potential. The main problem to me is that when
it starts, the film is being played as satire and when it ends, it's
being played straight. As a result, Friends with Benefits does not
quite rise above the romantic material it mocks, but on occasion it's
funny and adorable.
Actually for a while, the movie is on fire. The opening is cleverly handled, and is a good way to grab the audiences attention. Then for the next several scenes, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake demonstrate charm, comfort and overall competence and end up delivering a couple of the funniest sexual encounters I've seen in years. What I like about them both is that they bring enthusiasm to whatever they do, and this film is no exception.
Around the halfway point, the film starts to feel a little boring. with a running time of just over a hundred minutes, Friends with Benefits is not a long movie, and while it's not exactly short either, it feels shorter than it should be. There are a few hints to suggest that a longer movie was intended but the Studio may have forced a cut down. In addition to an ending that feels rushed, all the supporting characters in the story seem futile, and underwritten. Woody Harrelsson, for example, can be a really funny guy, but he's not given the material or the screen time, to make his appearance worthwhile.
The film has it's ups, it has it's downs. It doesn't end up being a bad Rom-com, but I've seen better.
I was unsure what to expect going into Friends with Benefits at an
advanced screening a few weeks ago. It always seemed a bit too close in
plot to No Strings Attached (made extra odd as the female leads Mila
Kunis and Natalie Portman had literally just starred together in Black
Swan), a film that came out less than six months ago, and while the
trailers looked amusing, they seemed to look a little too close to an
atypical romantic comedy. But the film actually ended up surprising me.
Well, the first half at least.
Jamie (Kunis) is a headhunter in New York City who helps aspiring graphic design artist Dylan (Justin Timberlake) land a prestigious job at GQ. They become good friends, and after a discussion about their relationship failures, decide to start having sex without the relationship schmaltz (hence the titular phrase). But the good times cannot stay uncomplicated for long.
Rather surprisingly, the first half of Friends with Benefits is a ridiculously raunchy sex comedy that is sweeter than it is crude. The dialogue and one-liners drop at a steady pace, and there is plenty of laugh out loud moments. I was genuinely surprised at just how much I was enjoying the film, and how well co-writer/director Will Gluck (who knocked Easy A out of the park last year) helped capture the tropes and stereotypes of romantic comedies, and went entirely against them. The scene that starts the initial sexual antics is a complete dissection of the genre, and seeing the film twist and turn around the familiar plot devices was wonderful to see. It made the film feel hilarious, but also made it feel like it was attempting to do something different at the same time. Adding in a couple of random cameos from notable actors was a bit wacky (which the trailers have ruined slightly), but helped add to the humour.
Except the film comes to a screeching halt just about halfway in when Jamie and Dylan come to the all too obvious realization that they may want something more. The film then becomes drastically more dramatic, a lot less sweet, and significantly more ordinary. Even the laughs suffer, landing less with a snicker and more with a groan. Everything it does to shift itself away from the romantic comedy genre feels wasted because it falls into all of the stereotypes quicker than it poked fun at them. It almost feels like they wanted to desperately feel different, and then decided to just go the safer route as opposed to sticking with its offbeat early tactics. I was really enjoying the film significantly more than I imagined, but suddenly felt bored and totally thrown off by the drastic tonal shift.
While sketch comedy has proved to be one of his strong suits, Timberlake seems to have a lot of trouble carrying the film. We know he has the chops to command the screen and be absolutely magnetic (we have David Fincher and The Social Network to thank for that), but here he seems to be struggling with every other scene. He lands most of his jokes well, does decently with the dramatic bits and has plenty of chemistry with Kunis, but he lacks the spark I think most people will expect him to have in this role. He comes off as just okay, and more amateur than anything else. He would have been better suited in the film as a key supporting player, as opposed to the lead.
Kunis on the other hand, is significantly stronger and proves that her turn in Forgetting Sarah Marshall may have been an early suggestion of the formidable comedic talent she may quickly become. Gluck is not able to achieve the same level of breakthrough that he got from Emma Stone in Easy A from Kunis, but she manages to carry the film almost single handedly. Even at the script's weakest moments, she grins and pushes forward, never once appearing to be struggling as much as Timberlake does. I think my only complaint against her is that she spends a good portion of the film completely nude, yet ends up wearing all too obvious pasties under a white shirt in one scene. It seems more like a complaint against a horrendously bad editing and lighting decision than against her, but it was a scene that made her seemingly-realistic character feel a whole lot less believable.
Patricia Clarkson and Richard Jenkins both deliver good performances, but sadly feel like they are just plagiarizing from characters they have played better in the past. Jenna Elfman (who I did not realize was still acting) does a little better in a warm and significantly low-key role as Dylan's sister Annie. But it is Woody Harrelson who steals the entire show as gay sports writer Tommy. He plays the character ridiculously over-the-top, but never feels like he is encroaching on any stereotypes. He makes it his own, and is almost too good in the role. He gets all of the film's best dialogue quips, and runs circles around everyone on screen. In more than one instance, Timberlake looks legitimately shocked at some of the things Harrelson says and gets away with. I think the film could have only benefited from including more of him.
In the end, Friends with Benefits is both surprisingly well done and unsurprisingly ordinary. It tries so hard initially to be the anti- romantic comedy, and then just ends up falling into the same predictable elements that every other film in the genre has already done countless times before. The film is genuinely hilarious when it wants to be however, and this does save it from being a total waste. But it could have been so much more.
This movie was all things cliché and predictable. Even though you know
what is coming, the honesty with life's little quirks and human
behavior was incredibly well done.
Timberlake is an okay actor. I found him to be a fresh breath in this movie. The dialogue and scenario fit his charm quite well.
I found Mila Kunis to be quite funny, and she pulled off that cute, charming, awkwardly damaged woman, perfectly. She was chic, yet easy to relate too. Down to earth, but an air of success and confidence, hidden in all the girly dreams and fairy-tales.
If you want something original and never done before, this is the wrong movie to watch. If you wish to appreciate a good spin on an old concept with stellar humor and humanity, it is worth the watch..
Watch this if...you are in the mood for an adult-oriented romantic
comedy that has a great pace and manages to appeal to both genders.
Acting/Casting: 6.5* - Timberlake and Kunis are very good in the lead roles and the supporting cast is well put together. Honestly, Timberlake surprised me a bit with his performance.
Directing/Cinematography/Technical: 6* - There is a lot of great scenery of LA and New York in the film. The movie also has a great pace, which can be attributed to the directing.
Plot/Characters: 6* - Nothing new in the storyline with this movie, but it is done fairly well. Guy and girl are friends and decide to have no strings attached sex, but of course that is hard to do.
Entertainment Value: 7* - As mentioned, this movie is appealing to both genders and is fast paced and entertaining. I would recommend to anyone looking for a good romantic comedy that would interest both members in the relationship.
My Score: 6.5+6+6+7 = 25.5/4 = 6.4
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Before I've decided to watch this movie, I've read reviews which were
very positive. Honestly, I don't understand why so many people like it
so much. As for me, it's another mawkish, predictable romcom based on a
well-known formula. A complete copy of another shoddy romantic comedies
like No Strings Attached and Love & Other Drugs with dull jokes, dumb
plot, slobbery moments and lack of chemistry between two lead
Friends with Benefits is supposed to be a romantic comedy but I don't find it funny or heartwarming. All funny moments were included in first 30 minutes, another 1,5 h. is an annoying mess. I think writers have lack of imagination, in my opinion, it's the only reason why they included Alzheimer disease, Bryan Greenberg's character and an idiotic quarrel between lead characters (J. Timberlake & M. Kunis). It was so painful to watch, so I barely watched to the end. I know, some poorly made movies have its charm, but FwB has nothing but boredom.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't know what I expected from this packaged pre-frabricated Hollywood blockbuster so why did I feel like I wasted my $1.29 at Redbox (actually twice that for accidentally keeping the movie 2 nights). From the beginning, the dialogue was so full of quips and witty banter that the characters were never believable. The plot is basically the writer living out a fantasy of "no strings attached" sex which is a joke in real life because it's not how humans are made. In the movie, instead of learning that "no love sex" is impossible, the characters just decide they really do like each other (I'm not even going dilute the word "love" by using it here). The movie then proceeds to predictably fall into the romantic comedy trap that it made fun of in the beginning. Beside many personal annoyances (like Hollywood producers & writers always making movies about or based in New York or L.A. because they are ignorant as to any kind of life outside of those cities), I am beyond sick of movies diluting the beauty of sex by pushing the boundaries and tiptoeing on the line of pornography. This movie offers nothing more than the eye candy of Mila Kunis. If I were you I would not waste a Redbox dollar on it.
"Friends with Benefits" has a predictable and unoriginal rom-com storyline and its ending is pretty lame. Yet this movie coasts on the charisma of Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and a lot of sharp and witty dialogue. As long as these two actors are talking to each other or having sex, there is hardly ever a dull moment. And the reason for this seems to be simple enough. In most rom-coms, the actors play pretty dim-witted, boring and superficial people and therefore there is no reason to take interest in anything they may say or do. In this rom-com, "Friends with Benefits," Timberlake and Kunis play fresh, independent and smart people and for this reason we are interested in the lives they lead and what they say to each other. So "Friends with Benefits" does not have much of a plot, but that does seem to matter because on this rare occasion we are happily distracted by the magnetism of two capable on screen actors who are playing two well-craft parts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So when I first heard of this movie I got REALLY confused. Because a movie JUST LIKE THIS was JUST released it was called No Strings Attached. Wow it's official: Hollywood HAS RUN OUT OF IDEAS! They are so shameless about it now even. They don't even try to space them apart anymore to try and trick people! Like the Hulk reboots. At least they had YEARS separation. And people found THAT outrageous! These movies came out back to back! Here let me list the similarities between these two movies:
Both have the same plot: a male and female agree to be "fu(& buddies"
Both end up the same way: the male and female end up wanting more
Both have an actress that was in Black Swan; NSA: Natalie Portman FwB: Mila Kunis
Both have the male lead that was more famous in the 90's; NSA: Ashton Kutcher (That 70's Show actor) FwB: Justin Timberlake (N*sync singer)
Both have outrageous, BETTER, more interesting supporting actors/characters; NSA: the girl with the glasses FwB: Justin's gay friend.
Both have these people be at the top of their game and rich! NSA: the girl is a doctor and the guy I forgot but he was pretty well off FwB: The girl has a cushy job, and the guy is getting money thrown at him!
This last similarity brings me to my next point; the movie was unrealistic. This movie is taking place in a post-recession world. There are flash mobs, new technology, references to current things. YET in this movie companies are BEGGING people to work for them!? WTF!? THERE ARE NO JOBS! This was the MOST INSULTING DISGUSTING THING about this piece of (r@p movie! They will hire some #0re to FLY to LA to CONVINCE a guy WITH HIS OWN company to work for them. Doesn't that mean that they have to pay him more? It's for GQ magazine sure, but a mag has THAT much money!? And for what!? This guy does not even do his job! Knows nothing as proved by his gay friends question's like "What font did you use?" This guys 'brilliant' response; "I don't know. Times new roman?" Most of the time he is fooling around with the girl and doing other random $#!t!!!! It disgusts me that Hollywood does not get it! Life is not a fairy tale! People don't and CAN'T live these lives. That apartment Justin's character can supposedly afford (IN NEW YORK NO LESS!) even the rich struggle to get! WOW!
The only difference between these movies is the person that wants their relationship to mean more. In NSA it's the guy that wants more and the girl that doesn't "get it." In FwB it's the girl that wants more and the guy does not "get it."
Also I hated how this movie tried to be so hipster. Like it was trying to be so "cool." As if they were "better than" these movies they were making fun of. At this point pretty much ANY other romantic comedy is better than this piece of crap! Even NSA had the girl with the glasses - so funny! While this movie's stand out character; the gay friend, was barely even in the movie! Also the ending was a cop out they did not admit that they were wrong! Cynical to the end! Wow what idiots, what a pointless movie!
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