Friends with Benefits
Castle Rock Entertainment
All romantic comedies are the same. Girl meets boy, they don’t think it’ll work, but then they fall for each other, mess it up, fix it, and live happily ever after. Mix in some jokes, often some sex, a lot of clichés, and poof: romcom.
Friends with Benefits (FWB) sticks to this formula. It’s a movie about being afraid of relationships because your parents had bad luck with their own. It’s a movie that teaches you that pants are uncomfortable (they are), and that college is a time for cargo pants and flings.
In the movie, Justin Timberlake plays Dylan Harper, an emotionally-unavailable blog editor from Los Angeles who is convinced by Jamie (Mila Kunis), an emotionally-damaged executive recruiter from New York City, to take a job as arts editor at GQ magazine.
Jamie spends some time selling Dylan on the job and the city, and he takes the offer. They become friends and soon afterwards decide to add some “benefits” to their friendship: no feelings, just sex.
The plot shouldn’t surprise anyone. On the slim chance that you can’t see the ending coming, the movie is filled with enough foreshadowing to help clue you in. The film spends some time mocking and poking fun at clichés common to romantic comedies and then uses them anyway.
It won’t win any awards (it’s no Annie Hall), but FWB is one of the funniest romantic comedies I have seen, and I’ve seen plenty of them. It did such a good job of making everyone in the theatre laugh that it felt more like a comedy than a romantic comedy.
Justin Timberlake was recently on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and described FWB as a “romantic comedy for guys.” This was quite accurate as it seemed that the movie was more focused on delivering laughs and jokes than on telling a sappy love story like the one found in most romcoms. The film was definitely more memorable for it.
The onscreen chemistry between Timberlake and Kunis was superb. They worked excellently together in the comedic scenes and were just as convincing as a romantic pairing in the more sensual scenes.
Fans of Timberlake as a host of Saturday Night Live shouldn’t be disappointed with his performance here. While it’s no Barry Gibbs Talk Show, Timberlake brings enough one-liners and eccentricities to the Dylan character to make it seem like Dylan might be the type of guy you’d see in a late night comedy sketch.
There was one small thing I didn’t like about the movie: they made fun of John Mayer. I like John Mayer, even if he is a douchebag.
Friends with Benefits is essentially the same movie as No Strings Attached: same plot, different actors. An imdb.com search for Friends with Benefits even yields No Strings Attached as the first result.
If you enjoyed No Strings Attached, I would definitely recommend Friends with Benefits. It’s much funnier, and Timberlake and Kunis work much better together than Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman ever could.
If you’re just looking for a comedy, FWB is a pretty good choice; if you’re into romantic comedies, watch this movie.