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Friends with Benefits
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Friends with Benefits More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Clueless commitmentphobes transformed in old fashioned morality tale masquerading as urban comedy

3/10
Author: Turfseer from United States
31 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jamie is an executive recruiter who recruits Dylan, a young, up and coming art director for a small internet company in Los Angeles, to come to NYC and work for the much more high powered GQ Magazine. Before this happens, there's a prologue showing their back story: both are going through another unsuccessful relationship with a member of the opposite sex. When Jamie and Dylan meet each other for the first time, they're both jaded, as they've been burned one too many times, in their quest for 'true romance'.

While getting to know each other, they watch a parody of a romcom (romantic comedy) on TV, both bemoaning the pitfalls of traditional courtships and wondering perhaps how they can circumvent all the complications associated with traditional romance. They forge an unlikely friendship where they can avoid any kind of commitment in the relationship and simply enjoy sex for its own sake. Hence, the 'benefits' is the satisfaction of having the sexual relationship without the commitment.

Soon, the film's scenarists strategy of setting us up for an old fashioned morality tale, becomes clear. The 'friends with benefits' program--that is, sex without commitment, is only part and parcel of a larger overall problem with the personalities of our protagonists. Jamie and Dylan are unfortunately narcissistic, coarse and immature.

The film's scenarists would like us to laugh at Jamie and Dylan, as they expose their foibles in the first thirty minutes or so. Jamie, the perennial go-getter, obnoxiously puts down Dylan, who extols the virtues of wide-open, west coast living as opposed to what he regards as the cramped living style of New Yorkers (the put-down becomes clear when Jamie sarcastically cracks, "What are you, a Gazelle?).

If Jamie's coarseness is off-putting, it pales in comparison to Dylan's complete cluelessness. Dylan is so narcissistic that he simply can't understand why he's so wrong about Captain Sully. People rightly perceive that he's stubborn and ignorant when he claims 'planes fly themselves'. In reality, Captain Sully's plane was almost completely disabled due to the bird strike and could not possibly fly itself. So he's wrong on that count and 'tunes out' all those who are justifiably angry with him.

Dylan's myopic 'Sully stance' is indicative of what's wrong with the first third of the film. By trying to 'humanize' the characters, exposing them as deeply flawed human beings, the film's scenarists have gone too far and made them out to be decidedly unlikeable. Somehow the Sully joke needed to be lighter and not cast Dylan in such a negative light. That way, we would care more about him at the end, when he finally does redeem himself. The same goes for Jamie whose constant use of expletives coupled with her overreaching competitiveness, also casts her in a negative light, during the expository sequences.

The failed comedy of exposing the two 'losers' who adopt the self-defeating 'friends with benefits' program becomes a much more traditional romance in Act II and III, not unlike the 'film within a film' parody of the romcom the two lovers watch and disparage early on. It doesn't take long for Jamie to have true feelings for Dylan, after he invites her to California to meet his family and they have an intimate tryst. But Dylan remains locked in his fear of commitment and after Jamie overhears him putting her down while talking with his sister, the third act crisis is precipitated.

It takes a little while longer before Dylan redeems himself by realizing how selfish he's been, but with the aid of two key allies, he finally sees the light. The allies who counsel Dylan are of course, Tommy, his gay co-worker, delightfully played by Woody Harrelson and Dylan's Alzheimer's afflicted father, Mr. Harper (solidly and convincingly played by Richard Jenkins).

Couldn't you guess, but despite Mr. Harper's fluctuating memory loss, he manages to impart to his son, a tale of long lost love which turns out to be the big lesson here: don't let your best shot at love slip away.

It's all very predictable and sentimental but Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis do seem to exude some chemistry, working together. I only wish their characters were a little less alienating and a little more gregarious in the first thirty to forty minutes.

In the end, 'Benefits' can only live up to its billing for its romance and not its comedy. Simply put, there's nothing funny about obnoxious, clueless people. But once these protagonists are transformed, they do become a bit more likable. Still, is this rather predictable 'love-fest', a film you'll remember for a long time? I doubt it quite a bit.

As an old fashioned morality tale, where a misguided couple realizes the error of their ways and finds 'true love' in the process, 'Benefits' fits in well with the pantheon of mediocre romcoms, populating our movie theaters today.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

No benefit to watching it

5/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
10 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you had read my comments you know my hatred for most romantic comedies, as they are the same formula over and over again with different names and actors. 2011 had a movie staring hot on the rise Natalie Portman called No Strings Attached. An intelligent romantic comedy about the realism on relationships, how sometimes there is no way to get around having feelings for someone in our busy world. We want that connection with someone and sometimes let it go before we realize that we may have lost someone special. So almost in taking her role too seriously, Mila Kunis who starred with Natalie Portman in Black Swan playing a girl who is almost a little jealous of the lead's talent, takes on the same like role. Playing the girl a small bit different by being someone who does believe in love but thinks that it's something wrong with her on why she can't find the right guy for her. Can Justin Timberlake prove her wrong? What could have been a very creative formula in making fun of how romantic comedies have taken over most women's perceptions of what love should be instead of what's reality, it turns back into the same tired old formula it's bashing in the first place.

Jamie has the task of trying to recruit Dylan to interview for a job with GQ magazine, he comes to New York and after interviewing for the position learns from Jamie that he has been given an offer to work for GQ. Not knowing anyone else in the city he and Jamie quickly develop a friendship. One night, while hanging out at Jamie's apartment watching a romantic comedy, they get on the topic of sex and relationships. They come to the conclusion that sex should not come with so many emotional attachments. Both feeling the need for a physical connection they agree to have sex without emotion or commitment involved. After several trysts together Jamie comes to the realization that this isn't really what she wants, and she would like to start dating again and informs Dylan that they need to stop. But after many failed attempts on both parts they are both in a supposed shock when they realize they really like each other.

You name it, the cliché is there: the gay best friend, the misunderstanding, the workaholics, the walking down the street to some cheesy sappy pop song looking into the sky wondering how a love could go so wrong, the talking to an old person making the protagonist realize how they were wrong and must do something so dramatic to win the person back and of course the big make up kiss in front of a big crowd of people who feel the need to applause despite the fact that they don't know what is going on. Despite a lot of flaws the thing I do give credit too is that Mila and Justin do have some great chemistry bouncing back and forth off each other. Although they are such beautiful people and it's hard to believe that they are that hard up for some loving. Would I say this is a terrible romantic comedy? Not necessarily, I didn't feel my time was totally wasted, but I would recommend No Strings Attached over this as that was more realistic and had a better feel to it. But I think this was over all a good way to waste some time if you're looking for light hearted fun as the two leading actors make it worth your while. It's just a tired old formula that I wish could have a different ending for once. But that isn't coming any time soon as Hollywood needs to stick with the safe formula of having everyone live happily ever after and nothing more after that.

5/10

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

meh :/

1/10
Author: Olaf Weyer (olafreinhardweyer@googlemail.com) from Germany
11 February 2013

15 minutes into this movie and i have no idea who these two main characters are. I assume i am supposed to take the dialogue lines of each's partner breaking up with them at face value, giving us some insight into our main characters inner problems, but i can't. It just all to superficial and neither of the "divorced" shows any emotional reaction. So nothing to identify here. Neither with our characters profession: Two real super successful hotshots in NY (now) which simply ain't close enough at home for a mass audience. Should we admire this Denver-Clanesque setup? But the biggesst flaw, really isn't the story or unlikeable characters, the real caveat is the pacing. There is simply is none. This movie moves along in a manner, like it were telling you "what do i care, if you're watching"? On the bottomline: Not all engaging, not funny, not interesting, not fresh, not making your heart raise or slow down, just an empty shell of nothingness, that happened to got (almost) written and film through some camera. Stay away. It sucks!

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Lame.... Useless waste of time.

2/10
Author: imbluzclooby from United States
9 July 2013

Watching movies about shallow premises coupled by lame dialogue and Narcissistic acting are enough to sour me early on. Why did I invest my time watching this pointless bilge. Apparently, the supposed "Most beautiful woman in the world', Mila Kunis is what kept me somewhat intrigued. close ups of her stunning face and dark beauty is what keeps me watching. Outside of the aesthetic quality of her appearance I had to constantly get up out of my couch to do something more useful like wash dishes or clip my fingernails.

This movie is lame and is just a feeble excuse to showcase the two leads and the materialistic world they live in. I don't know much about Justin Timberlake, because I never paid much attention to him outside of Hollywood tabloids forcing this drip into our living room. I also hate when they have to incorporate the obligatory Rap music into movies with White actors, as if they genuinely like this putrid form of noise.

It's annoying and makes young people look shallow, self-serving and apathetic.

If you want to look at Mila and her entrancing beauty, click on some thumbnails online. otherwise, save yourself 95 minutes.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

this is not a romcom

2/10
Author: Aiki40 from Dublin, Ireland
8 November 2011

Is not.. and maybe is good. Justin Timberlake is like a piece of wood.. and wood express emotions very hardly. Is not.. because "sex is like tennis" so.. its predictable from begging to end. Is not comedy to.. I try very hard to find any funny moments.. was hopeless. OK.. its maybe any interesting story here?.. Which mean.. you can watch this movie and you don't know what happen next? Sorry.. no! Wooden hero meets beautiful girl, go to bed, split up, hero talk with Yoda, they meet again.. end of story. Familiar? To much familiar for me. A few weeks ago I saw "No Strings Attached".. there Natalie Portman can lift and rescue this movie.. (another wooden hero BTW - Ashton Kutsher). Big Mila Kunis eyes can't help here. Its a pity. so.. what you get? you can remember something when you get out from cinema? Not too much I think... nothing maybe.. You forgot this movie before you arrive home. My prediction for Golden Raspberries this year: - worst scenario - worst couple - worst male performer - worst director

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Horrendous

3/10
Author: thetruth45 from United States
28 January 2012

This movie was absolutely horrendous. There was not a single positive aspect to this movie. First of all, it's not funny. Second of all, the acting is lousy. I understand that this is a romantic comedy and it's supposed to be a bit light and not so deep...but this was really bad. I mean, there really wasn't a single truthful moment in this movie from an acting perspective. I've seen children have more substance that Justin Timberlake and his female counterpart. Third of all, this movie was really awkward- like neither of these individuals have had sex in their life..... Fourth, the plot/story is literally non-existent--> we are literally forced to watch the first hour of the movie in this sort of trance-like mirage of weird images of Justin trying to be funny in bed with this chick....but all the audience could do is cringe in utter embarrassment at this fiasco.

Fifth, they kept trying to get Justin Timberlake naked--> but is he supposed to have a great body or something? I mean he looks like a highschool kid...what woman is salivating for the body of a highschooler? They should have been doing everything possible to keep his clothes on and not off. The list of flaws could go on for infinite....this movie blows. I give it an F.

The only thing that keeps this movie from being a 1 is Woody Harrelson who's awesome as usual. I.e. he's the only positive to the entire movie.

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11 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Sony placement movie

1/10
Author: rajan2420 from France
7 January 2012

OK, what you see from the beginning to end is a display of Sony products.

A deliberate and a ridiculous scene is placed just so that the characters could be seen playing the Sony playstation.

The couple watch a show on a.......Sony TV.

If they use a laptop it would be a VAIO .

And of course, the background music is composed of artists that come from the Sony records label.

The film ? Well the guys were so focused as to how the place the Sony products that they turned the movie into a total crap.

It is NOT a romantic comedy. It does not have any class. The characters debit dialogs straight from the gutter.

I used to have a high esteem of the Sony Group. This movie produced in me the opposite effect. I would buy any label except this.

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14 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Unbelievably irritating

2/10
Author: ozi_wozzy from United Kingdom
6 October 2013

I was staying in on Saturday night and wanted to watch something light hearted and humorous. Friends with benefits seemed the perfect fit. Mila Kunis is usually talented and Justin Timberlake has done some good stuff. Add to it the glamour of NY and sharp comedy, things looked promising.

I lasted about 30 minutes. I don't know how they managed turn talent and sharp humour into something so annoying. Mila Kunis came across as a fake, arrogant brat and Justin Timberlake had about as much charm as a broom stick. I ended up just being irritated by a lot of things in the film. Such as when Mila Kunis asks Justing Timeberlake if he thinks she's pretty. This is Mila Kunis - voted the sexiest woman in the world for god sake. They both have glamorous jobs, look perfect and have perfect blend of humour and wit...just too damn perfect with absolutely no touch of reality. Not even a hint of chemistry between the two.

It's such a shame because Mila Kunis was excellent in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and her voice over work in Family Guy is brilliant. So I can only blame the director in this movie for turning her into such an annoying character. As for Justin Timberlake...bland, just bland.

Irritating film. Luckily, Predator was on and saved the evening. At least Arnie can do proper humour.

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25 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Why did i expect more?

1/10
Author: dave-995-288520
2 September 2011

I saw the advert for this on TV and thought that this could have potential to watch with my girlfriend so we went to see it. Ohh how i was wrong, i can honestly say i can't think of a worse film i have seen all year. The acting was terrible the storyline was predictable the editing was shocking too.

The whole film seems rushed in the sense that for the 1st 20mins the conversation is back and forth so fast it all drowns in to one monotone noise. It does ease off a bit towards the end but it was too little too late.

I can see JT being in films as a cameo role but to be a lead actor that takes some acting talent which he has none of.

I want the 90mins back of my life.

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28 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

A film with nothing

1/10
Author: dbrando from United States
29 July 2011

Friends with Benefits seems like it might be a satire of Nora Ehpron's feel good films,or Neil Simon's one dimensional types with just TV cracks as substitutes for any kind of genuine dialogue. Not the case here. This film makes Ephron's screenplays and directed films, along with N. Simon's stuff, look like classics. Friends with Benefits has no acting in it, except for Patricia Clarkson, and she is debased as one of those old women- mothers who swear and screw around with men etc.

There isn't one line that is funny,there is not a scene between Timberlake and Kunis that has any chemistry to it. He is always seen as potentially gay, and Woody Harrelson's gay character keeps us wondering, if anyone would care to wonder.

Timberlake plays it all as sort of gay and sort of straight, but comes up neuter. I think the reason why there are so many nude shots of him is because you never take his gender seriously, like one of the dwarfs in Snow White, you never fear for Snow White's sexual safety; the dwarfs have nothing that would cause fear. So it is with Timberlake. Even when there is sex between Kunis and Timberlake, it looks like wrestling at summer camp.

The Altzheimer scenes are appalling, along with the gay male model scenes that are deeply homophobic.

This film needed a script, director, producer, and stars, not non-actors, who stomp around the set with no sense of mimesis, mimicking at all.

Avoid this, and watch "The Nanny."

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