No Strings Attached
Release date: January 21, 2011
Director: Ivan Reitman
Story by: Michael Samonek, Elizabeth Meriwether
Screenplay by: Elizabeth Meriwether
Cast: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline, Olivia Thirlby, Greta Gerwig, Mindy Kaling
No Strings Attached, previously known as the Friends with Benefits movie or F*ck Buddies, is the story of Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher), two people that had chance encounters in school, university and post-university, and end up establishing a symbiotic casual sex deal.
As the changes in titles are a hint, No Strings Attached is a pretty washed version of a Rated R comedy about sex. Except for a few curse words, and a scene with YoungEmma and YoungAdam and the suggestion of fingers, there’s nothing restrictive about this movie. In it, Natalie Portman plays Emma as a focused med-student — or doctor? — doing her residency in need of a wind-up.
Kutcher’s Adam shows up and meets her by chance after many years, almost at the same time he finds out his father, famous writer Alvin (Kline), is diddling his ex-girlfriend. Devastated, and kind of sick, he wastes himself in alcohol and random cell phone calls until any girl decides to sleep with him.
There is a major error in the concept of friends with benefits, in that Emma and Adam are not really friends. When they meet up again, they barely know each other. And though Adam may be in love, or maybe a little obsessed with Emma since the beginning, there’s really no indication Emma feels the same way for him. Her realization comes from the fact that she doesn’t have a shield to her little sister’s (Thirlby) wedding, and that her friend (Gerwig) was hanging out at Adam’s because she’s dating his roommate.
Though No Strings Attached has some chuckles, there’s not nearly enough chemistry between Portman and Kutcher, or enough spice to make this Rated R film worth your while. A pity too, because Kevin Kline, Olivia Thirlby, Greta Gerwig and Mindy Kaling are kind of wasted.