Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits
Dir. Will Gluck
Year: 2011
Aus Rating: MA15+
Running Time: 109mins

In 2010 director Will Gluck made the hilarious teen comedy Easy A, Mila Kunis broke out with psycho-thriller Black Swan, and Justin Timberlake showed real acting skill in The Social Network. Half a year later all three converge on Friends with Benefits, the second film this year (after No Strings Attached) to tell the story of friends who embark on a sexual relationship, only to discover it leads to emotional complications. Unfortunately this mingling of talented people has not produced anything of any worth. The idea of “friends with benefits” is hardly rocket science, yet Gluck and his three co-writers seem intent on being as dim-witted as possible.

Read the rest at Trespass Magazine

You know what? I could've talked about what was wrong about this terrible movie for a few hundred more words. The whole enterprise is just completely misguided and disingenuous. I mightn't have liked the film if it were nothing more than Kunis and Timberlake meeting cute and spending the next 100 minutes falling in and out of love and then back in again. Instead, the filmmakers went out of their way to mock the stereotypical nature of rom-coms before adhering to every single one of them. And it doesn't even stick to its (to use an American term) "red band" sensibilities. There's nothing particularly funny about hearing someone say curse words in the place of regular language. The lack of actual jokes would've been damaging beyond repair, but the rest of the movie is just as bad.

There got to a point where I was actually spotting all the bloopers and consistency issues the film had. A scene where the bed sheets shift positions between edits? A close-up of Timberlake appearing on the TV news as he's being rescued from the Hollywood Sign? Did they rig a camera to him? Or how about the scene where she says she didn't have time to shave her legs and he says he did have time to shave his legs and yet a close-up of their legs shows hers are shaved and his are not? And while they're not bloopers, I could not stop noticing the ridiculous toga parties these characters obviously thought they were attending whilst in bed. Take a look at this shot for instance:

And, okay, I'll give them leeway on the issue once or twice, but the entire movie is full of them. She routinely pulls the sheets up to her neck during the sex scenes and does anyone every actually do that? Or how about the magic mystery sheet that somehow found its way in the path of some rather important bodily movements that would've made sex impossible. It's like the improbably pool sex scene where Elizabeth Berkley thrusts against Kyle McLachlan's biceps for a new generation. The whole thing was just remarkably foolish. At least Bad Teacher, which I was in the minority of appreciating, had a go-for-broke lead performance from Cameron Diaz and, for a film that featured a plot about breast implants, actually showed breasts. Something's incredibly curious about Mila Kunis if she's willing to sign onto a film like this and yet wants to protect her modesty. Maybe she actually believes that scene where she tries to convince Timberlake's secretary that she's "perfect for Photoshop" and that she's a dog ugly heifer? Hmmm. And really? A man who runs a blog of six million monthly hits and DOESN'T know what a flash mob is? D- but bordering on F because it really is such a fail in so many areas.

You know what else I find amusing? When websites such as Yahoo make such glaringly obvious mistakes as this...

I don't seem to recall Mila Kunis ever being nominated for the Academy Award.


Tony said...

Hmmm... yeah I ended up seeing this. I originally bought a ticket to Crazy Stupid Love, but then it was immediately sold out, so my friends had to go see another movie... in which they picked Friends With Benefits, so I just walked into that instead.

I agree with you. The close up shot while he was on the helicopter? Really? And this trying to be like the Scream of romantic comedies was a huge fail, lol. BUT yeah, it was OKAY. You may be a little too harsh on it though seeing as it wasn't the biggest piece of shit as you make it seem like it is lol. I mean it was what it was.

It was a clittle better than No Strings Attached though. That one made me want to barf.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I don't dislike it as much but you hit on some solid points. Especially when you say that if the movie was just Mila and Justin meeting it'd be nice, but Gluck gets annoyingly condescending when he starts mocking the romantic comedies and the movie isn't smart enough to be making ironic comment and then having the same things it insults in it so it ends up coming off as just douche-like.