Friends with Benefits
December 17, 2011
I was avoiding this movie for a long time. To me the trailers looked like a parody of every “casual sex leads to love” romantic comedy done. I couldn’t believe it was an actual film. Plus it came out right on the heels of Love and Other Drugs and No Strings Attached – total overkill of the concept. But after hearing numerous girlfriends and cousins gush: “It was sooo good!” I finally decided to rent it last weekend (and by rent, I mean buying off On Demand because I convinced myself it was too cold to drive out to a Redbox).
I didn’t hate Friends with Benefits. Not as much as No Strings Attached. I didn’t love it either, but I sat slightly amused throughout the movie. The problem is, I do not like Justin Timberlake that much anymore, and do not take him seriously as an actor. My sister and I used to be obsessed with him when he was in N’Sync, and that followed through when he put out both his (very well done) albums. He is a very talented singer and dancer. But he started getting annoying for some reason- just seeing how cocky he was in interviews. I do find him funny when he does SNL (the Bee Gees skits with Jimmy Fallon are classic, the ones where he dresses up in food costumes and of course Dick in a Box are great). I also didn’t mind him in Social Network because he was playing a real life person who was kind of similar in cocky/dick-like behavior. I just don’t buy him in any lead-actor roles, especially serious movies like In Time (still boycotting). I would like to see him do another album with producer Timbaland.
But as I said, I didn’t hate this movie- Justin and Mila Kunis have chemistry and look good together. Mila Kunis was mesmerizing-ly beautiful, it was fun to watch her and her cute outfits. The sex scenes, which I expected given the premise of the movie, weren’t too bad. I am pretty conservative when it comes to sex in movies- I think once you allude to two characters about to have sex, the scene should end, or be pretty short and not graphic. It’s just awkward for me to watch people do something so intimate and private (hence not a porn fan, if I want to get turned on I’m watching The Departed or The Town. Leo Dicaprio and Jeremy Renner, tatted up wielding guns? Yes please! This is just my opinion, however you want to get your rocks off I respect, as long as you’re not Jerry Sandusky). But the sex scenes in Friends with Benefits were meant to be more funny than “hot.” Definitely not as bad as watching Black Swan on opening night in a completely packed theater which included families, so awkward.
Of course all the staples of romantic comedies are included in the movie: throw back 90s song references – Semi-Sonic’s “Closing Time” and Kris Kross “Jump” (we’ve seen this in Just Friends (“I Swear”), The Proposal (“It Takes Two”), Hitch (“Now That We Found Love”)), wacky family members- Jamie’s mom (Patricia Clarkson playing the similar ‘cool hippy mom’ role she did in Easy A), someone having a serious health condition, and therefore bringing depth into a main character’s life- Dylan’s father with Alzheimers, celebrity cameos- Shawn White, and lastly wacky friends who provide funny advice and great one-liners- Dylan’s gay co-worker played by Woody Harrelson. Mix that together and you get a movie that is enjoyable to watch, yet you find yourself feeling like you’ve seen this before. Friends with Benefits being the most recent film, included all things modern in pop culture- the couple playing wii, watching YouTube, taking an oath on an iPad, joking about a “period” app on the iPhone…
The ending was overly cheesy and awful (of course), with Dylan’s dad pulling his health together just in time to tell his son that he too had The One that got away and “Go get her, son!” but before I completely gagged, I found myself actually tearing up when Dylan organized a flash mob to declare his love (I know, sucked me right in, so ashamed).
So there you ago, another nice lil addition to the catalog of romantic comedies. If you want to watch one with real quality that is really funny and original- rent My Best Friend’s Wedding. Sometimes the best endings aren’t the expected ones.