Friends with Benefits (2011)
Kunis & Timberlake Play Tennis
Head hunter Jamie (Mila Kunis - Date Night) manages to persuade Dylan (Justin Timberlake - Bad Teacher) to leave LA for a job interview in New York and whilst he's not keen on the city life she manages to persuade him to accept it when the offer comes through. Soon business friends become close friends and after watching a Hollywood rom-com together question why friends can't have sex, no ties, no commitments, no complications, no string attached. And so that is what they do, satisfying each others urges as friends with no pretensions just honesty. But can friends really just be friends with benefits.
"Friends with Benefits" starts as we watch Jamie outside of a cinema on the phone to her date who is late. At the same time we have Dylan on his phone who is running late for his date, bombing across town in his car. It is a nicely constructed intro as we are lead to believe they are on the phone to each other which makes you smile when you discover they are not and smile even more when the end of the scene sees them both being dumped in a series of movie cliches. But it sets the tone for the rest of the movie as "Friends with Benefits" delivers snappy scenes featuring sexy people and general mickey take out of the Hollywood idea what romance should be.
Now I admit I enjoyed "Friends with Benefits" the cast looks good, the humour is sharp and in truth it is generally funny be it the no strings attached sex scenes or just the general observations on Hollywood's perception of romance. But it is not the most original of movies, in fact around 2011 there were other movies with similar storylines all asking the question can people have sex with no complications. As such for all the fun and various humorous sex scenes featuring Jamie and Dylan having honest sex it is entirely obvious where this journey will take us.
But in a way the fact "Friends with Benefits" is obvious and for all the mickey taking of Hollywood romantic cliches it is itself a romantic cliche and it works. There is comfort in knowing what is inevitably going to happen and that two beautiful people look good together in the sack. So what if it isn't clever or doesn't make any deep revelations on sex with friends because in its simplicity it is entertaining.
Now a lot of that is down to the writing, it is sharp, genuinely funny and just raw enough to entertain grown ups without over stepping it to try and be sensational when it drops a swear word here and there. But it also works because the casting is spot on with Kunis and Timberlake looking great together with their sexy bodies, well there's and the occasional body double. But they also spark off of each other which makes what they say and how they act around each other entertaining, something which a lot of romantic comedies fail to achieve.
What this all boils down to is that "Friends with Benefits" is in truth nothing special when it comes to what happens. But a good looking cast who work well together and plenty of sharp humour makes it worth watching not just once but a few times.
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