Review – Friends With Benefits

It can be challenging to have identical twins in a family. A family friend of mine has twin girls and says the hardest thing is you have to try really hard to treat them as individuals. Sure, it’s fun to dress them in the same clothes when they’re infants, but when they grow up, they crave that sense of uniqueness they are denied by their DNA.

Hollywood has its own set of twins in the form of ‘No Strings Attached’ and ‘Friends With Benefits’. Two films that focus on a relationship based on purely on sex. It’s easy to compare the two but they are dramatically different. ‘No Strings Attached’ was directed by the once great Ivan Reitman, who was scrambling to relive past glory, but ended up producing a dull film. Meanwhile, ‘Friends With Benefits’ is directed by Will Gluck, a director on the rise who has managed to find some relevance in the world of tired romantic comedies.

Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) are two singles who are tired of the dating game. Dylan moves to New York for a new job and develops a friendship with Jamie. They agree to start a physical relationship on the condition that it not become emotional in any way.

Gluck burst onto the scene with the impressive ‘Easy A’, which breathed new life into the teen comedy. He’s a savvy director who tries to steer the ship away from the rocky shores of the standard romantic comedy in ‘Friends With Benefits’. He deconstructs the genre by taking pot shots at rom-com staples like Katherine Heigl. There is also a parody film within the film – featuring Rashida Jones and Jason Segel – that comes off as the worst romantic film ever made. The dialogue is snappy and there are a few good jokes that run through the film, but despite Gluck’s efforts, halfway through the film, it starts to become predictable. Before you know it, you’re back in rom-com crapsville.

Kunis brings sex appeal and substance to her role, which is refreshing from the usual accident prone women that clog up the screen. Patricia Clarkson and Richard Jenkins are great as parents, and look out for a blink and you’ll miss it appearance from Emma Stone who steals the show early on.

‘Friends With Benefits’ is a step above most romantic offerings and I look forward to seeing how Gluck’s career progresses.

3/5

‘Friends With Benefits” is now showing in cinemas everywhere.

Sony Pictures

The Popcorn Junkie

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