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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Friends with Benefits (2011)


A better remake of that shit that came out 6 months ago.

This rom-com chronicles the relationship of two busy singles, Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis), who agree to include sex in their friendship — minus the emotions and commitment. But things get complicated when Dylan (inevitably?) falls for his gal pal. Patricia Clarkson co-stars as Jaime’s hip mom and Woody Harrelson plays Dylan’s practical confidante, who advises him to man up when he pursues the newly dating Jamie.

After seeing No Strings Attached, I really knew that rom-coms have gone down the tubes pretty quickly and then when I heard they were basically doing the same premise to a different film I thought well it is probably better than that crap I just mentioned. But this is way better, way way better.

The best thing about this film is that this is some real funny stuff here that actually had me laughing more than I expected. The banter is all-over-the-place but the jokes and one-liners are quick, sharp, and fast and as raunchy as they may be at times, will still have you cracking up many times. I’m not saying you will be on the floor dying of laughter but a lot of LOL moments will happen.

You would also expect a film like this to be completley dumb and just tell silly jokes with a romantic subplot but director Will Gluck, who directed Easy A, knows how to keep a film going with a bunch of jokes, bunch of sex, and actual smart writing that fleshes out almost every character well. There’s a lot of raunchy sex stuff to be seen here but it’s balance with some sweetness that actually worked and has you smiling more.

The problem with this film is that the whole time it’s sort of starting to make fun of all of the rom-com cliches we all see just about every week, but it eventually falls victim to it’s own satire. I didn’t understand why they did that because what I thought was actually going to be a sort of different and smart rom-com just ended up playing out like I should have imagined in the first place.

Another problem with this film was the emotional weight this film tried to carry which seemed a little too far-fetched for me because it almost seemed like the script was relying to heavily on these emotional moments to show some more heart to these characters, when you can just have these two talk about their lives and understand them even more and actually keep you laughing rather than just feeling odd with these sappy moments.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are the real show to watch here because I have to say without them, this film wouldn’t have been as believable. JT and Jackie…ehrrrr…I mean Mila seem like they are buds and have this instant chemistry that begins as soon as they meet each other and continues on and on throughout the whole thing. They play off one another so well that the banter between the two is just constant and adds so many more laughs to each of their scenes than I expected. Great performances from these two and the chemistry that they have together seems so perfectly-well executed.

The whole rest of this ensemble is just amazing as well. Patricia Clarkson is Jamie’s MILF mom that is sexy but funny as anything and takes over the screen every time she’s on, which it seems like something that she does so now often; Woody Harrelson is just downright gay but hilarious as Tommy; Jenna Elfman is pretty good here as Dylan’s cool sis; and Richard Jenkins could have been funnier as Dylan’s dad, but still adds a lot to his character. There’s a lot of other great faces that you’ll see here and there such as Emma Stone, Andy Samberg, and a very funny cameo from Shaun White of all people.

Consensus: Friends with Benefits is a funny, good-written, and well-acted rom-com that actually uses it’s two leads perfectly as their chemistry holds the whole film until the film itself succumbs to the cliches that lie within the genre. But in the end I guess it’s all about how the film gets from point A to point B is what really counts.

7/10=Rental!!

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11 responses to “Friends with Benefits (2011)

  1. mylastoscar July 27, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I am actually very very excited about this. I despised No Strings Attached, except for Natalie Portman’s radiant performance, but I expect a lot lot lot better from this.

    JT’s starting to show that he’s got the acting skills and Mila Kunis is definitely a natural. Can’t question that.

  2. Alex Withrow July 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    More Emma Stone, please.

  3. Marshall July 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I think I was the only person in my theater who laughed at the Sulley cameo. Bummer, the whole running joke was great and people didn’t even recognize the payoff.

  4. Rants of A Crazy Person July 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    There are parts of Friends with Benefits I liked better than No Strings Attached, but also vice versa. They should have just melded these two movies together only with Ashton and Mila! That would have been a great 70’s Show reunion!

  5. league89 August 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    What’s interesting about this, and may explain why this one was better, is that Friends With Benefits was in production before No Strings Attached was put together. The latter was an effort for aggressive competition, and that is really just irritating. NSA was thrown together and pushed to the box office in order to beat out FWB.

  6. meganeilers August 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I totally agree that this was a total redo of No Strings Attached (although they were obviously filmed about the same time). I liked both of them, but I definitely thought that Friends with Benefits was better. Better acting. Better emotion. Better chemistry between the characters. I definitely laughed more than I expected at this too! Great review :)

  7. Pingback: » Movie Review – Friends With Benefits Fernby Films

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