The highly publicized Friends With Benefits, which was actually the original title of the first movie. This is ironic as Friends With Benefits is the movie that ‘No Strings Attached’ tried so hard to be, but failed miserably. Starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake FWB is funny, highly enjoyable and finally gives Mr. Timberlake the vehicle he has been searching for for so long.
Kunis plays Jamie, a GQ head hunter who convinces Timberlake’s Dylan to his successful blogging position in LA and come and join the magazine’s New York office as a creative director. Of course they hit it off, become great friends and enjoy the single life in NYC. The only thing they are missing is the sex, so make a pact to become the aforementioned friends with benefits.
Predictably, things start to get mightily complicated when they start to develop reel feelings for each other, and of course this is obvious to everyone but them. Now this sounds, so far, as if it is just a pile of clichés thrown into a hat, pulled out in a random order and made into a movie. The big thing with this movie is that it is almost a parody of itself.
The characters make references to how their lives are playing out like a rom com, and what a ridiculous genre of moviemaking that is. There are even scenes showing a fake rom com being made and our leads are ridiculing it. Yes this is a bit over the top but is sire gets the point across and is done so well and with so much good humor you can’t fail to find it funny.
This movie also does what other comedies are meant to do but often fail, it makes you laugh out loud. Kunis and Timberlake are perfect in their roles, they have a great chemistry and their comedic presence should be used as examples in classes for those who want to be comedy actors. Another plus is that the supporting cast also shines, the casting of Woody Harrelson as GQ’s gay sports columnist was a stroke of genius, as was giving Patricia Clarkson the role of Jamie’s mom.
There is a serious storyline that arrives so suddenly it jars you, and that revolves around Dylan’s dad, a sterling performance from Richard Jenkins. Although surprising, it is vital to the plot and has a positive effect on the lead characters. Whilst this movie isn’t perfect, most of the jokes are spot on and it certainly makes full use of its R rating. There is sex, vulgarity and nudity, which are mainly rear view shots of Timberlake.