Friday, 30 March 2012

Casual Sex

In today's liberal minded times, sex is advertised everywhere. It fuels the music industry. It is used to promote products. It's even hidden away in kids' shows. But yet, the movies tell us it always turns into love. There is no such thing as casual sex. No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher challenged this idea but in all honesty, the trailer suggested this was never going to ring true. So along came a rival. Almost surreal as it stars Natalie Portman's co-star from Black Swan, this movie looked at the exact same concept. Its trailer is far more amusing but still hints that relationships really are as black and white as they seem. Let's take a look at Friends With Benefits.

Dylan Harper (Justin Timberlake) is an art director for a small internet company in LA. One day, head hunter Jamie Rellis (Mila Kunis) tries to recruit Dylan for GQ magazine in New York. After an interview with GQ, Dylan is hesitant to take the job and so Jamie takes him for a tour of New York to convince him that it is worth the jump. Dylan finally accepts the job and, knowing no one in New York, strikes up a friendship with Jamie. They begin to hang out together and become best friends. One night, while watching a rom-com (starring Jason Segel), they come onto the conversation of sex and relationships. They both agree that sex can be nothing more then physical intimacy without feelings getting in the way. With this fresh in their minds, they make a deal: to have sex with one another, and not get attached. Despite everyone telling them that this is a bad idea - Dylan's gay co-worker, Tommy (Woody Harrelson), Jamie's mum, Lorna (Patricia Clarkson), Dylan's sister, Annie (Jenna Elfman) - they continue on with it. A simple rom-com without the romance right?

'Hands up if you would sleep with one of these two.'

A pretty perfect comedy crew. Not only is this a funny cast, it also has a few solid actors. Mila Kunis and Woody Harrelson are both outstanding actors. Justin Timberlake is also a good actor as we discovered with The Social Network but he fits so well in comedies. He's perfect for the role of Dylan. He is confident but also careful. He's hesitant to take risks but yet he knows he's good at what he does. Plus his beautiful voice comes in handy a couple of times. My only issue is his extremely exaggerated stutter when he is scared but there's no trace of it anywhere else. Mila Kunis, who men will droll over throughout the movie, does a good job against Timberlake. She's not as funny, though she does have some of the best lines, but she's a spot on partner for Dylan. She's got control and she knows what she wants. She's enough to put Dylan in his place. All this being said, Richard Jenkins stood out for me. Playing Mr. Harper, Dylan's father who suffers from early stages of Alzheimer's disease, he creates really touching scenes in what is essentially an extremely shallow, yet funny, film.

'How are you even doing that?!?!'

Admittedly, a second class follow up for Will Gluck after his previous comedy, Easy A, but still a good film. It's got a wicked soundtrack and some real laughs (and maybe you'll be on the edge of tears at two or three points. I was.) You'll end up quoting it back and forward, hopefully not always in the same context as in the movie. I do recommend singing closing time to your partner, but not shouting, 'What are you try'na do? Dig your way to China?' in an intimate moment. My biggest issue with the movie is, despite setting out to make a film that does not involve love and is just sex, it piles on the clich├ęs in the latter half of the movie. Gently at first and then they rain from the cinematic sky like a monsoon.

A good laugh and one that everyone (above a certain age) can enjoy. It's not a chick flick, it's a sex flick. Also fun cameos from all your favourites like Emma Stone and Andy Samberg.

Best Bit? Honestly, the first sex scene. Not for the obvious reasons either. I find the interaction hilarious.

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