Risqué, irreverent and witty

2011-09-21 00:00

JUSTIN Timberlake and Mila Kunis star in Friends with Benefits, a film that, while similar in concept to No Strings Attached, proved to be far more entertaining. Dylan and Jamie are 30-somethings living in New York City, and they get on really well. So well in fact, that they decide to start having casual sex with each other, and thus become “friends with benefits”.

At first, it seems like the ­perfect situation until the demands of life require a level of emotional support that their arrangement does not provide.

As evident from its title, the film is inherently sexual. The film-makers have not pulled their punches when it comes to exploring the “benefit” part of the relationship.

The jury was out on Justin Timberlake. After an unsettled performance in Saturday Night Live, there was some ambiguity as to whether he could successfully transition from music to feature films.

Now the verdict is in, and his role in Friends with Benefits is the confirmation: Timberlake is a talented and deserving movie star in every way, shape and form (and by form I mean a six-pack so prominently featured, it deserves its own end credit and a pay cheque).

Gone are the days of the Gary Marshall-style romantic comedies of the nineties. Friends with Benefits, along with most others in this century, is risqué and irreverent. A continuous stream of subtle humour, unfiltered dialogue and fast-paced delivery of cultural references makes for a modern and witty film.

Friends with Benefits both mocks and pays homage to traditional romantic comedies. The script takes you to the brink of sentimentality before snapping back to comedy. With New York as its backdrop, the film is cinematically beautiful. With a first half that is funny and paced like the script drank a Red Bull, and a second half that displays some heart and intimacy between the two leads, the film becomes complete and genuine.

Friends with Benefits is thoroughly enjoyable and a perfect example of a 21st-century ­romantic comedy.

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