Film Review: Friends wtih Benefits
● Published by Wendy Sipple
The newest romantic comedy stars Justin Timberlake as Dylan, a young graphic artist that is recruited to work for GQ in New York by Jamie, played by Mila Kunis. Once there the two strike up a friendship. One night while talking about relationships the two decide to strike up a deal to have sex without the hang ups over a relationship. It isn’t long before the two meet each other’s families and develop feelings for each other which ultimately threatens their friendship.
Friends with Benefits is leagues better than a similarly themed movie, No Strings Attached, which was a dreadful movie. That is not to say Friends with Benefits is without it faults, as it has quite a few. But the strength of the chemistry between Timberlake and Kunis is enough alone to make the movie easy to watch. These two young stars have plenty of personality and both are rather likable in the movie. Friends with Benefits also has several strong performances from it supporting stars including Woody Harrelson and Richard Jenkins.
Although the movie starts a bit slow, featuring both leads getting dumped in similar fashion, Friends with Benefits finds it pacing as soon as Dylan moves to New York. The friendship that grows between Dylan and Jamie has a great authentic quality to it. Nothing feels forced until the movie adds in the deal of “friendly” sex. Every time the movie resorted to the sex scenes which were intended to be funny the film seemed to come to a complete stop in enjoyment for me. The scenes did nothing to move the story forward or produce many laughs. It did give glimpses of nudity of the two stars of the film, but all these scenes became were a distraction to what could have been a great romantic drama. Perhaps I have grown numb to the gross out humor, after all there is so much of it now, but Friends with Benefits really doesn’t have anything that raunchy or shocking in it either despite its advertising. Even the nudity is kept a minimum (although the girls will be happy to know you do see Timberlake’s bare butt).
The real strength of the movie is the slow reveal of the two character’s home lives and how they dealt with very different sets of parent issues in similar ways. The movie is very clever in how they handled Dylan’s father’s Alzheimer’s disease which very easily could have been off putting. Richard Jenkins adds a lot to the role, and I like the fight the character has. There are several very well handled dramatic scenes. The movie picks up a lot of momentum in these emotional scenes and is actually broken up by the film makers trying too hard to insert comedy, which really stood out as random given the context of the drama.
People who like romances will enjoy Friends with Benefits. The leads have legitimate chemistry together and the movie’s heart is certainly in the right place. People attending the movie searching for the latest gross out comedy will be disappointed. Although it has some humorous moments (most of those funny scenes feature Woody Harrelson’s gay sports editor character) it is definitely more of a drama at its core. Friends with Benefits is a charming movie that girls will like on date night and guys won’t mind it either.
Films like Friends With Benefits – No Strings Attached, Love and Other Drugs and Jerry Maguire
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.
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