MOVIE REVIEW: Friends With Benefits
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake discuss world affairs and have lots of sex
Director Will Gluck gave us a teen comedy that made it on my Top 10 list last year: Easy A.
Now he gives us the second movie this year that deals with a male/female friendship that adds casual sex without all the hassle of being in a relationship: Friends With Benefits.I think it’s safe to say that screenwriters need to put a moratorium on this premise for awhile.
No Strings Attached was better than many critics wanted to admit, but if you have a problem watching Ashton Kutcher, you probably didn’t like it.That same thing might hurt this film, Friends With Benefits, if you’re not a fan of Justin Timberlake.
Timberlake showed us he could act in the underrated Black Snake Moan, and he was a pleasant surprise in The Social Network.In this, he’s basically playing himself; but he does show he has some acting chops. There’s a scene where he has to panic because of his fear of heights that’s excellent.
Mila Kunis has shown she’s more than just the cute girl from That ‘70s Show. She had to act serious in Black Swan, and the quick witted banter between her and Timberlake works. So does the chemistry, which is important in romantic comedies.
The two spent a large portion of this movie making fun of rom-coms, yet this movie is one.There’s even a fake movie Kunis loves and Timberlake hates that they’re often watching (it stars Jason Segel and Rashida Jones in the type of cameos stars must love doing).
The cast includes Jenna Elfman as the older sister.Patricia Clarkson, who is always welcome on screen, plays the wacky mom. Richard Jenkins has a few witty lines as the dad with Alzheimer’s. This is a lot like when Hollywood gives a character amnesia to help the story move in touching directions.In this, he’s conveniently able to give his son pep talks and advice when needed, or take off his pants at an Applebee’s and get lost in an airport to illicit sympathy.
There are many sex scenes in this movie, and they have mixed results. Some of them are funny, some of them lack originality, and a few are cute. It certainly earns its R rating.
The film is uneven at times, and some of the jokes don’t work. And you might even think many of the aspects of the movie aren’t realistic, but it’s like watching the Harlem Globetrotters. They aren’t playing real basketball. You still have fun watching it, though.
This is one of those rare date movies both men and women will enjoy.