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>> Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Think about the possibilities. A friend with whom you could have unlimited sex and not get emotionally attached too. It seems, though, this is an impossible dream only imagined by the immature and the naive. But at some point, those of us who get older and find ourselves wedged in between that 'first love' and 'committed relationship' phase attempt it because dating has become a repetitive, cruel and exhausting joke. Sexually, this can be very frustrating. Girls - this is why guys are more likely to be found playing a game of pocket pool rather than dreaming of white knights and prince charmings. We know what we need and we know what we want (just not always on an emotional level. Justin Timberlake says it best in Friends with Benefits after Mila Kunis asks him what movies after the credits are like. He answers with one word: porn.

If you've seen Timberlake on SNL in the past couple of years you know he's not the N'Sync toting, boy band weirdo he once was. Instead, he's evolved into a very talented and funny actor. Mila Kunis, being raised on the sets of sitcoms also knows the value of wit - and together they're unstoppable. The first half of Friends With Benefits will blow your mind by how laugh out loud funny it is. From the opening credits on you'll find yourself either laughing (or cringing) at the 'funny because it's true' dating and sex commentary made by this talented on-screen couple. I've never been more pleased in a comedy.

But in typical Hollywood tradition, we have to learn some life lessons and more importantly (apparently), we all have to grow up some time. I believe there was easily enough material to make a movie entirely based on the 'f**k buddy' label, which made me even more disappointed when I found myself half way through watching something I'd seen on screen a million times before - and I didn't know why. Within Friends With Benefits there's a movie within the movie that stars Jason Segal and Rashida Jones as a couple of cliché romantic film characters who say every bad line imaginable. This fake film seemed earlier on to be a nice commentary of the cheese Hollywood has been bringing to the fondue party for the past thirty years. Unfortunately, I believe it was only in place to make one believe the ending of Friends with Benefits 'at least wasn't as bad as that other shit comedy the characters were watching'. But alas, I was watching another shit comedy. Having JT say he knows 'this is cheesy' or 'I know you wanted a movie moment, so...'. is just as bad and seems more of an easy way out than anything. Satire is no longer satire if it's - well, not satirical.

There is good though. Namely, supporting appearances made by Woody Harrelson and (even smaller) guest spots by Andy Samberg and Emma Stone. I feel all the characters and general idea (and maybe even the first sixty pages) were there from the get go and this is what sold it to the studios. I also wouldn't blame the writer of the film (Keith Merryman) if his original idea didn't involve all the mushy, cliché stuff at the end. Studios are unsurprisingly known for pressuring an artist for happy endings, stories about Alzheimer-ridden fathers and life lessons. It's not enough anymore that things are just funny - really funny.

Based on the first half alone though, Friends With Benefits won me over and therefore gets an open door. Like I said, the first forty minutes could have sustained the whole movie but doesn't. The plus - the last half makes it a good date movie and the perfect excuse to see Mila Kunis sporting nothing but her undies. Unfortunately we also see a lot (and I mean a lot) of Timberlake.

*Stills courtesy of Castle Rock Entertainment


Editing Luke August 2, 2011 at 7:22 AM  

I think I might actually really enjoy this movie. It's so hard to tell these days when they release such similar flicks one after the other. You should've seen No Strings Attach for comparison.

Angry Charlie August 7, 2011 at 9:19 PM  

I agree. I should have watched it but I didn't want to see it in the first place so my motivation just wasn't there, lol. But yeah, this is a movie I think you would like and I recommend you check it out when you get the chance. :- Thanks for the comment!

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