9 oct. 2011

My Review: Friends With Benefits (7/10)

¨I have the perfect body for Photoshop. This (face) gets more angular, these (legs) get longer, and this (nose) get way more Christian.¨

I don’t think anyone would have a problem in real life believing that Mila Kunis could be a model, but this is just a movie so we go with the flow when she tries to convince someone she works as a model in order to find Justin Timberlake`s character in a photo shoot. Friends with Benefits is director Will Gluck`s follow up to his very successful 2010 comedy: Easy A, and although it isn’t as great as a film as that one was, the movie still manages to entertain thanks to a decent script and a great chemistry between Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. This movie actually had all the ingredients to fail: First of all there was a very similar movie that came out in the same month staring Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis`s Black Swan partner, Natalie Portman. Second the film follows the same formula most romantic comedies do, and we can anticipate the ending miles away. So, why did I enjoy the film as much as I did? I admit the chemistry between Timberlake and Kunis was great, but that isn’t enough for me to make a film of this caliber enjoyable. I also have to admit that I love Mila Kunis and think she is extremely gorgeous on film, but that neither is enough for me to enjoy this movie. I actually enjoyed the plot quite a bit and found most of the things happening believable. I know love doesn’t work like this all the time, but there can be a couple of occasions in which true love can be magical and predictable. Some girls have found their Prince Charming, and that is the story some filmmakers have decided to tell despite all the clichés and formulas.

Justin Timberlake plays an upcoming successful blogger from Los Angeles named Dylan who happens to have some good job offers coming his way from New York. Jamie (Mila Kunis) is a work agent who makes Dylan the offer to come to New York to work as the editor for GQ Magazine. Dylan just ended up being dumped by his girlfriend for being emotionally unavailable and decides to give New York a shot. Jamie was also recently dumped by her boyfriend, so both Dylan and Jamie realize it is better to focus on work and not enter relationships at this stage of their lives. Jamie convinces Dylan to accept the job by selling him the idea that New York is a great place to live and he agrees. Once in New York, both of them begin to form a strong bond together and become real good friends. They both agree that they don’t want to be in relationships at the moment, but they miss sex. All of a sudden they both come up with the idea that they should sleep together without dealing with the whole relationship issue. They decide they can have sex just like two friends would play a game of tennis together, without all the romantic emotional stuff involved. Of course the plot gets more complicated than this and emotions begin to affect their relationship. Patricia Clarkson plays Lorna, Jamie`s hippie loving mother, while Jenna Elfman plays Annie, Dylan`s older and caring sister. Richard Jenkins is Dylan`s father, while Woody Harrelson also has a supporting role as Tommy, the sports editor for GQ magazine.

The entire cast is really fantastic in this film. The strong chemistry between the two lead roles (Timberlake and Kunis) is supported by a magnificent cast. Richard Jenkins is always great, and in this movie he plays the role of a father suffering from Alzheimer to perfection. Jenna Elfman is also great in her role as the sweet and caring sister, but the two supporting characters who get the most laughs are Patricia Clarkson and Woody Harrelson. Patricia is great as the free loving hippie mother, and Harrelson shines as the gay sports editor. The plot also works really well despite following all the Hollywood clichés that the film sort of tries to make fun of when they have Jamie and Dylan watch romantic comedies together and rip them off for being so predictable. The screenwriters were a little hypocritical because they followed most of the same formulas those movies did, but I still had a good time with it and laughed at several scenes. I also liked that there was more to Timberlake`s character than what we were first introduced to. We got to see some of the depth that he had in the film and he did a great job with his role. I thought I was going to hate this film, but I was surprised at how much I ended up liking it. The first half hour was a little strong for me, but after that the film picked up and ended up having a good message after all.

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