Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friends With Benefits (Rhoades)

“Friends With Benefits” Is Oddly Familiar
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Don’t blame me if this movie looks all-too-familiar when you settle into your comfortable theater seat with a bag of popcorn and a box of Raisinettes. At first flicker, “Friends With Benefits” will seem like a remake of this year’s earlier comedy “No Strings Attached.”

That first film paired Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman and Demi Moore’s hubby Ashton Kutcher as friends who try to have convenient sex without any romantic involvement. You can pretty well predict the outcome. After all, it’s a rom-com.

Same here.

Both explore the complications of having sex without attachment. As “Friends with Benefits” star Mila Kunis observes: “It’s like communism – good in theory, in execution it fails. Friends of mine have done it, and it never ends well.”

Except in the movies.

“Friends with Benefits” is currently seducing audiences at the Tropic Cinema.
Pop-singer-turned-actor Justin Timberlake co-stars with Mila Kunis in this déjà vu film. The pair display good on-screen chemistry, an easy-going familiarity that makes you think he actually could be nailing her. They demonstrated this comfort level at the MTV Movie Awards where Timberlake groped her breasts and she grabbed his package. A little over the top for TV, but remember Timberlake is a veteran of such controversy – him being the architect of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl XXXVIII “wardrobe malfunction.”

This is the first lead role for each of them.

What’s interesting about this new film is that Kunis was Natalie Portman’s co-star in the psychological ballet thriller “Black Swan,” wherein Natalie snagged an Oscar and Kunis didn’t.
No big surprise. Portman has paid her dues, debuting at 12 in “The Professional” and going on to win fanboy hearts as Queen Padmé Amidala in the “Star Wars” saga.
Kunis, on the other hand, is relatively new to the big screen, having spent 1996-2006 on TV’s “That ‘70s Show” sitcom.

Nonetheless, Kunis and Portman remain best-est friends. Natalie calls her “Sweet Lips,” a reference to their pas-de-deux kissing scene in “Black Swan.”

To add further mix-em-and-match-em confusion to this play list, Kunis’s co-star on “That ‘70s Show” was none other than Ashton Kutcher, star of that other friends-with-benefits movie.

“While ‘No Strings Attached’ was almost all about the sex, ‘Friends With Benefits’ is more about the relationship,” says veteran movie watcher Matthew Fong.

The plot (in case you didn’t see that first movie) is simplistic, but funny. According to his ex, Dylan (Timberlake) is “emotionally unavailable.” And according to her old boyfriend, Jamie
(Kunis) is “emotionally damaged.” So they decide to go it together, as friends who partake in sex the same way other people pair up to play tennis. A good workout. Exercise with – to borrow an oddly familiar phrase – no string attached.

Yeah, right.
[from Solares Hill]

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