Got the chance to see a preview of Friends With Benefits last night, and I enjoyed it.
This romantic comedy, about two friends who decide to sleep together without emotional commitment (yeah, right), is out July 22. You may think you’ve already seen a similar film, No Strings Attached, but this movie is different, and much better, for these reasons:
1. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are more attractive to watch. I don’t just mean that they’re prettier (since that’s a matter of opinion, although I think so), but that their relationship is more realistic and more entertaining. I found it plausible that they were actually friends, and I wanted to spend time with them and wish them a happy ending. They’re three-dimensional characters, and they have great chemistry.
2. It’s actually funny. You know, when you go to a romantic comedy, what the ending will be, but I often found myself laughing out loud at the jokes along the way — especially the ones that weren’t related to the main story.
3. It’s modern. Many of the jokes I enjoyed related to today’s technology, and the characters use cellphones frequently, as real people do. By modern, I also note that the film contains a lot of strong language and adult concepts. This is definitely an R movie, in keeping with current comedy trends, although they stay away from the gross and disgusting.
4. It’s self-aware. They make fun of traditional romantic comedies within the movie, with particular targets being people who film in LA and call it New York. This film makes good use of its authentic New York setting, being a love letter to the city as much as between its characters at times. It’s also sweetly emotional.
5. I shouldn’t be surprised by the previous, since it’s directed by Will Gluck, who previously made Easy A. He’s got a nice touch when it comes to breathing new, fresh life into familiar movie genres, as he did with the teen comedy previously.
6. The supporting cast is great. Patricia Clarkson is Kunis’ mom (which makes Kunis Emma Stone’s sister, kind of, and Stone makes an early cameo); Jenna Elfman and Richard Jenkins are Timberlake’s family; and Jason Segel and Rashida Jones make small but pointed appearances. The standout, though, is Woody Harrelson as Timberlake’s gay co-worker/mentor.
7. It’s got a great soundtrack, and music is part of these character’s lives, with some particularly funny sequences around tunes they remember from younger days and trying to remember who sang a generic pop song.
8. It’s inspiring. Go with someone you want to have great sex with.
I’m already eager for it to come out on DVD. You can see the trailer at the film’s website.