Friends with Benefits
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Dylan (Justin Timberlake) takes a job in New York after being headhunted by recruitment specialist Jamie (Mila Kunis). As he’s new to the city, she takes him under her wing. After a few beers the pair decides to provide each other with sexual pleasure while staying friends. Everything works out fine until Dylan takes Jamie home to his family. Their easy-going friendship makes Jamie think there could be something more between them – but how does Dylan feel?
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Just like the sex-only arrangement referred to in the title, this movie doesn’t work.
It’s quite sad actually because Mila Kunis is adorable, Woody Harrelson is excellent as always and the visuals are great, but there’s no chemistry.
In an effort to be fair and thorough, I watched the movie twice. Second time around it felt five hours longer. The pauses between punch lines felt like a courtesy to the slower members of the audience, Justin Timberlake’s hair started to bother me and I was even more disappointed that once again a rom-com couldn’t deliver on its title. The movies aren’t supposed to be like real-life, so why can’t they just have sex without ramming their feelings down each other’s pants, huh?
Once again, Justin is carried through his movie by the female lead. There’s nothing wrong with his acting, but there’s not much right with it either. He’s just a very good mimic with a nice ass.
Mila is lovely, sweet, cute and a little too good for this movie. Her natural charm puts the audience at ease and it’s not hard to see why Dylan takes to Jamie so easily. Our lead characters are great as friends - but sucky as lovers.
The supporting cast, as in most of these types of films, put in better performances than the leads. Woody Harrelson is priceless as the gay sports editor at GQ while Patricia Clarkson is making quite a name for herself as the reckless, free-spirited mom. She played a toned-down version of Jamie’s mother in Easy A with Emma Stone, who also makes a cameo in this flick. It’s clearly a small pool – perhaps that’s the problem?
The trailer and the premise are packed with the promise of originality, yet when it comes down to the wire, the film follows the path of least resistance. The lame clichés, the product placement and the same emoticon-like devices Dylan claims to hate are used to tug at our heart strings.
While I feel disappointed and unsatisfied, I have to admit there were a few charming moments during our encounter. Who’s going say no to a few good lines, hot young bodies and the breathtaking New York skyline?
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: