Friday, January 21, 2011

No Strings Attached

22 years ago Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan starred in an excellent romantic comedy called 'When Harry Met Sally' which posed the question, can a man and a woman be friends without sleeping together?  Today we get this romantic comedy starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher which asks the opposite question.  Can a man and woman have sex with no strings attached?  That is an interesting commentary on how times have changed.

I actually liked the trailer for the film, but was a bit concerned that I already saw everything I needed to see and that it would be utterly predictable.  And it was fairly formulaic.  But I was pleasantly surprised that it still kept my interest from start to finish.  And it's definitely pretty funny at times.

And the cast?  I knew Kutcher would fit right in in a film like this.  But it was the casting of Portman that surprised me.  She doesn't normally do romantic comedies, preferring darker, edgier films like 'Black Swan' which is still in theaters, and the upcoming 'Hesher' which is also very dark.  But she was great and the leads had good chemistry.  And I was pleased to see Kevin Kline in the film, playing Kutcher's dad.  Kline is a great addition to any movie.

I shouldn't be too surprised that this film exceeded my expectations, since it was directed by legendary comedy director Ivan Reitman, responsible for classics including 'Meatballs', 'Stripes', 'Ghostbusters', 'Kindergarten Cop', and 'Dave'.  But Reitman hasn't made anything too memorable in the last 18 years, so it's good to see he hasn't completely lost his touch. 

This is not a classic romantic comedy.  It won't be remembered fondly 22 years from now like 'When Harry Met Sally'.  But it's a good, funny, sexy date movie and not a bad choice for this weekend.

Grade: B


  1. Have you noticed that the same movie is coming out later this year with J.Timberlake and Black Swan's other star, Mila Kunis, called Friends with Benefits. Please tell me I'm misunderstanding and this is not really the same plot in the same year.

  2. And yet I can't get my Rom-Com, Bleep Buddies, starring myself and Allison Brie, off the ground.

  3. Huh! Well said. I wasn't expected you to like this one - a solid B is good! I like the work of both the leads. Likable folks all around.

  4. I just read about 'Friends with Benefits' in Entertainment Weekly. And it sure does sound like the same film, but something tells me it's going to be worse than this one.