Friends With Benefits
Directed by Will Gluck. Starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.
My rating: 5 (out of 10)
Don't have sex with your friends. This is the message to take away from Friends With Benefits, the umpteenth film to tackle the question. Different actors, different panties, same conclusion. The panty-wearers this time around are triple-threat Justin Timberlake (star of song, screen and viral videos) and Mila Kunis (who last got naked with Natalie Portman in Black Swan).
Timberlake plays Dylan, an L.A. webmag designer who gets head-hunted by Jamie (Kunis) to be GQ's New York art editor. After having been burned before, both sides endeavour to be like George Clooney - sex, with no permanent ties. When Jamie and Dylan discover that they're on the same page, they waste no time hopping into the sack. The only problem about demystifying sex is that they skip the unknowns and head straight into married territory, talking about their day and current events during the act. And soon after they talk turkey (sandwiches, that is), the sex-bickering thing gets irritating. There are side plots explaining how the duo ended up this way - Jamie's mom (Patricia Clarkson) is a promiscuous free-spirit and Dylan has mommy abandonment issues - but mostly we just get to see a lot of JT's butt.
And while the film goes out of its way to make fun of formulaic romantic comedies - via a cheesy movie-within-a-movie starring Jason Segel and Rashida Jones - it inevitably falls into the same traps, complete with the grand gesture and bended knee. Strong supporting players (Clarkson, the excellent Richard Jenkins), and bits by Emma Stone, Andy Samberg, snowboarder Shaun White, Jenna Elfman and Woody Harrelson, nevertheless fail to make Friends With Benefits memorable.