REVIEW: Is 'No Strings Attached' Worth A Watch?
No Strings Attached’ follows Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher) as life-long friends who almost ruin everything by having sex one morning. In order to protect their friendship, they make a pact to keep their relationship strictly "no strings attached." "No strings" means no jealousy, no expectations, no fighting, no flowers, and no baby voices. It means they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, in whatever public place they want, as long as they don't fall in love. The question becomes -- who's going to fall first? And can their friendship survive?
If this premise were to be “kept real,” there’s no way it would have been played the way the film laid it out. Truth is most—not all—women aren’t up for any of the F.W.B. deal unless they’re sure that in the long run something evolves from it. Why? It’s encoded in women’s DNA to be emotional creatures; therefore, the line that was presented in the film serves as bullcrap nine times out of ten. There are women out there who can in-fact have sex without feelings, but for the most part, women + sex = emotional attachment.
Guys on the other hand—and I’m speaking as one—have a mutant-like power where we can detach just about anything from anyone at any time. NOW, don’t get me wrong because we’re not all “dogs” as most publications have made us out to be, but for the most part in our DNA we’ve been groomed to be a “man” and move along with anything and everything that comes up no matter how it feels. Of course it would be any man’s dream to acquire as many “sex buddies” as they can and simply move on—I guess it depends on the guy, but a lot of what I saw and heard in this film was total Hollywood mish-mash.
‘No Strings Attached’ tackles that ultimate question whether or not boys and girls can be “sex buddies”—or in terms used on dating sites—F.W.B. (“Friends With Benefits”). It’s a story with comedic convolution and serves us a plot which is quite predictable, however, entertaining. Presented with peripheral subplots which I felt didn’t belong, but what kept them alive were the inside jokes—especially among Kevin Kline who plays Aston Kuther’s father and Adam’s boys who serve as “I got your back” types played by Jake Johnson and Ludacris.
Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher didn’t have magnificent chemistry as it seemed pretty odd considering he’s known to be a goof-ball and Portman a more serious type of person, but kudos to them for playing roles which were pretty transparent. From the moment the film starts displaying their childhood friendship, it was clear where each stood which made it easy to figure out where the story was going, however, the film’s writing was clever enough to give you answers, but not dull to pull you away. Breaking-the-ice with her first feature film, Writer Liz Meriwether really caught the clarity of contemporary language. Whether it was Adam speaking to his boys or dad, or Emma expressing her cold self with Adam or her roommates, the mindset was clear.
I can’t leave out Director Ivan Reitman (‘I Love You, Man’ (2009))—who has a brief cameo say about 30 minutes into the film—for having made that same dialog work along with the actors’ interaction. This is the man behind lots of comedy hits (IMDB his ass if you’re unsure) and truly knows what works and what doesn’t. If anything, I’m going to say ‘No Strings Attached’ minus Ivan wouldn’t have been as smart, quickly paced and funny.
The film isn’t perfect, but it lives up to what it has to do. It gives the audience a little of everything and the language isn’t for the faint at heart. There are lots of sexual innuendos along with scenery; its go, guy jargon, Lesbians, nice looking girls, an outlook on what normally happens—only the other way around and once again, hot chicks kissing! The way I see it, ‘No Strings Attached’ is an extended edgy version of that one ‘Seinfeld’ episode when Jerry and Elaine hook up for sex and establish their “rules.” Remember? Oh, well… if anything, my overall verdict is I liked it. I found myself laughing a lot—especially during crowd reactions. There’s a scene which entails Ashton Kutcher defending his dignity based on action which led to all the guys in the audience—including myself saying “NICE!” (Only, mine sounded like Borat’s “Naaa’ice”)
The one question which ‘No Strings Attached’ left me with—as all other lovey-dovey films… Does morning breath not exist in Hollywood? What is it with people waking up and going straight to whispering all up on each others’ faces and kissing and going to sex!? (Morning breath is the worst kind of breath aside from a few others that I can think of that’ll make my morning wood go away!)
GRADE: B- / GENRE: Romantic Comedy/Drama / ROARS: 3½ out of 5
RATED:> R / RUN TIME: 1 Hour / 50 Min.
STARRING: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Greta Gerwig, Kevin Kline, Ophelia Lovibond
DIRECTOR: Ivan Reitman
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