It’s been quite a while since I reviewed “No Strings Attached”, but at the time I promised to return with a review of “Friends With Benefits”, which has the exact same plot. Well, here we are many months later, with that review.
“Friends With Benefits” is about a young man named Dylan (Justin Timberlake) who has been recruited by a head hunter to come to New York City and interview for a graphic design job. This head hunter is an attractive young woman named Jamie (Mila Kunis, who I like more with every new movie) who convinces Dylan to stay in New York and accept the job. Both of them have also just been dumped, and are “done with relationships for a while”. The two become fast friends and have good chemistry, and eventually one night they decide to become “friends with benefits”. The difference here between this movie and every other one that has this premise is that neither person has feelings for the other at this stage. A refreshing take on this concept. In addition, this movie (unlike “No Strings Attached”) is rated R, which should be something of a requirement when taking on this concept. The humor they are able to use because of the rating makes this movie.
As you have probably guessed, it all goes wrong eventually, and there is a big friendship-ending scene and then eventually a make-up scene. Formulaic and predictable. This movie really tries to be self aware, and at first this works well, but halfway through it becomes cliché, despite the running joke of trying to avoid being cliché. The secondary characters are also very “movie like” and predictable. As with “No Strings Attached”, there is the wildly eccentric single parent, the gay best friend, and the all-knowing sibling. Again, boring and overused. The movie tries really hard to break the mold of the romantic comedy, but it can’t even come up with new character ideas. Everyone has the usual traits and quirks, the same commitment and/or intimacy issues, etc. Show me some original ideas.
The movie was entertaining enough, sure, and the two main characters were relatable. I like Justin Timberlake much better than Ashton Kutcher in “No Strings Attached”, but this movie lacked Natalie Portman, so it’s hard to say which the overall better movie was. If I had to recommend one, I’d recommend “Friends With Benefits”. The humor was better, and both main characters were likeable. Either way though, you’re not getting a great movie, so I’d really just recommend that you watch Bridesmaids (review to come).
Images Friends With Benefits a Sony Pictures (c) courtesy
Visit the Friends With Benefits website for trailers and promotions.