Sex. Mila Kunis. Sex. Body double nudity. We can pretend. Mila Kunis. Thankfully, Friends and Benefits is that and more. A self-aware romantic comedy that also stars Justin Timberlake, Friends and Benefits is a surprisingly entertaining movie that works more often than not, even though it falls victim to the one rule it doesn't break: predictability.
Friends with Benefits, not to be confused with the similarly plotted No Strings Attached, is about two very good-looking friends in New York who, after both going through bad breakups, decide they want the ooh-la-la without the la-la-emotional-baggage of a romantic relationship. Naturally, the situation works until it doesn't, with both of them realizing they love the other. Sorry to blow the ending.
The movie works off an entertaining-though-not-quite-funny script that takes a refreshing number of stabs at the romantic comedy genre while, of course, playing by many of the same rules. The barbs are pretty clever, which makes the movie easy to enjoy, but the timing of most of them are just a little off. They come so fast and furiously the actors barely have time to breathe, but they just aren't as funny as the writers intended them to be.
Thankfully, the charismatic performance by Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis help gloss over some of the screenplay's flatness. They have great chemistry together, always an important component of a successful romantic comedy, and appear to be having fun in the movie. Then again, if I were Justin Timberlake and got to spend a month rolling around in a bed with a scantily clad Mila Kunis, I wouldn't not be having fun.
Kunis, hot off Black Swan, is especially good; Timberlake is entertaining but not as energetic as in many of his other movies. While spot-on at times, he overacts in others, often at disruptive moments.
Friends with Benefits isn't a great movie, but it's a good movie, worth one viewing. It isn't very funny but it is entertaining, elevated by the on-screen duo.Did I mention sex? And Mila Kunis. Sex. Mila Kunis. Just reminding you.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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