Friends with Benefits
Distributed by: Screen Gems
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In 2011, two movies aired with the main theme of friends with benefits. One movie, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, was actually called Friends with Benefits, while the other, starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman, was called No Strings Attached. I found this rather amusing since there were a lot of strings attached to these two movies. Never mind the similar themes, look at the actors. Natalie Portman starred in Black Swan with Mila Kunis who acted in That 70s Show with Ashton Kutcher who once Punk'd Justin Timberlake. Funny, huh?
Well, I had decided not to watch either of the films. That is, until the other day. You see, I had a sinus infection. And when one has a sinus infection, one generally lays in bed in sinus agony staring aimlessly at a television with no aim or direction. While I was thus staring, Friends with Benefits came on and I started to turn the television off when I found myself becoming amused. Having not found anything amusing in my sinus infection infused day, I decided to continue watching the film.
In Friends with Benefits, Mila Kunis is Jamie Rellis, a recruiter for a headhunter agency in New York City. Justin Timberlake is Dylan Harper, an art director for a small Los Angeles-based internet company. Jamie attempts to recruit Dylan for a job at GQ. To woo him into accepting the job and moving to New York City, Jamie takes Dylan out for a night on the town to show him all that the city has to offer. They soon become friends.
One night, while hanging out together, the two discuss their issues with romantic relationships and all of the hang-ups and strings attached. They make a pact to become friends with benefits, having a casual sexual relationship without the emotional baggage while still remaining good friends. Tommy (Woody Harrelson), Dylan's flamboyantly gay co-worker, tells him that the relationship can never work, but Dylan is up for the challenge.
Now, we know how this is going to end - of course they are going to get emotionally attached, but the fun is getting their and the bumpy ride thereafter. I found the movie cleverly written and the actors believable. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake have great chemistry together and I was surprised to see that Justin Timberlake could really act...and he wasn't to horrible to look at either. Other fun performances come from Woody Harrelson as Tommy and Patricia Clarkson as Jamie's free spirited mother. A romantic comedy, the movie didn't come off as mushy, nor did it come off as silly. There was a decent, albeit predictable storyline and funny dialogue that did nothing to take away from the romance of the film.
In closing, I can honestly say that at least one of the movies about casual sex that appeared in theaters in 2011, Friends with Benefits, was enjoyable enough to make me forget my sinus infection altogether and that's really saying something!