>> No Strings Attached (2011)

Title: No Strings Attached

Genre: Comedy, Romantic

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Natalie Portman, Kevin Kline, Mindy Kaling, Cary Elwes, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges

Director: Ivan Reitman

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Runtime: 110 minutes

In Theatres: January 21, 2011

MPAA Rating: R

Rating: 3.38 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B+

Official Site

COINCIDENCE??

The original title was 'Friends with Benefits' but it was changed because there was another movie with the same title starring Mila Kunis, who recently appeared beside Portman in Black Swan.

Let’s face it; Ashton Kutcher is notorious for appearing in romantic comedies that aren’t that romantic or funny. Time and time again though, he continues to appear on screen. No Strings Attached pairs him with the lovely Natalie Portman as they embark on every man’s fantasy; being sex buddies. Is this a good idea or is being friends with benefits destined to fail?

Adam (Kutcher) and Emma (Portman) have a complicated friendship. Emma has always been a loner, never really getting emotionally close to anyone while Adam is the friendliest, happy-go-lucky guy you could meet. After randomly hooking up one morning, the two agree to become sex buddies and not to fall in love with each other. A “no strings attached” relationship. While that appears fantastic at first, soon Adam begins to want more. Emma however, isn’t that type of person and only pushes Adam further away.

Right off the bat, the opening scene sets up how much of the film will be; awkward and blunt, especially when it comes to Portman’s character. Emma isn’t afraid to simply speak her mind, whether it’s saying “what’s up” to a highly respected doctor or asking someone for sex. She doesn’t play games. This lends itself to some comical moments between her and Adam. Portman has the rare ability to be sexy and funny (occasionally at the same time), something most romantic comedies lack.

Kutcher manages to redeem himself for all those horrible films he’s put out over the years. While he’s not perfect and Portman outshines him whenever they’re on screen together, he isn’t the stereotypical idiotic jock type we’ve seen in the past. He doesn’t force the comedy; it just comes more naturally in the film.

No Strings Attached works well as both a romance drama and comedy. At first it’s heavy on the comedy with a strong supporting cast including Kevin Kline, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Mindy Kaling, and others. Towards the middle, the film begins to morph into more of a drama, focusing on the “relationship” between Adam and Emma.

There aren’t really any surprises with No Strings Attached. It’s your stereotypical romantic comedy but the humor is smart and never dull, and the acting is a cut above the rest of the genre. Yes, even Kutcher wins me over in the end.

It can be sappy at times, but I think everyone can find something to enjoy in the film. Whether you’re closed and emotionless like Emma or open about everything like Adam, everyone can relate to what they’re going through, even if you weren’t necessarily sex buddies. Give No Strings Attached a chance and I think you’ll come out of the theater pleasantly surprised.

Follow me on Twitter @Majiesto

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