Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friends with Benefits (2011) - February Filmathon Film #11


Ingredients: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Woody Harrelson, Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins, Jenna Elfman, Bryan Greenberg, Nolan Gould, Shaun White, Andy Samberg and Emma Stone. Directed by Will Gluck. Run time: 109 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: I've had the DVD sitting by the television, but been putting off watching it in favor of non-romantic comedies and action flicks. However, it was the wife's pick out of the stack.

Corporate headhunter Jamie (Kunis) recruits well-known blogger Dylan (Timberlake) to work for GQ. Both have recently gotten out of relationships and end up spending lots of time together. They become good friends and decide to take it to the next level, but without any attachment.

Does that ever really work?

Tough to Swallow: Jamie's phone has the date 8/24/2010 on it when it's supposed to be July 4th. It's very brief.

Something to Chew On: Kunis used a butt double for nude scenes.

Jason Segel and Rashida Jones appear uncredited as stars of the movie within the movie.

Masi Oka ("Heroes") has a cameo as a passenger on a plane. His character's name is Darin Arturo Morena, but I don't recall hearing or reading his name anywhere.

Catherine Reitman, daughter of director Ivan Reitman, plays a female co-worker. Six months before this film hit theaters, Reitman's NO STRINGS ATTACHED, another bed buddies flick, was released.

Gluck previously directed EASY A starring Stone and Clarkson.

The sign Jamie uses to flag down Dylan at the airport originally read "O. Penderghast." Olive Penderghast was Stone's character in EASY A.

Gluck's daughters appear on the plane in front of Jamie and Dylan when the friends are going to visit Justin's family.

In the scene where Dylan hits on the Belgian girl, the saxophone player is playing Biz Markie's "Just a Friend."

Susan Sarandon is the only person from SNL's "Motherlover" Digital Short not to appear in this movie.

After the end credits, there are fake outtakes from the movie within the movie.

Aftertaste: For me, this is the third Justin Timberlake movie of the month following BAD TEACHER and IN TIME. And, surprisingly, I have to say I enjoyed this one the most.

Timberlake and Kunis have great chemistry together, and are both very attractive. The dialogue is witty and quick, and the supporting cast shines. Clarkson, Jenkins and Harrelson are scene stealers.

I like how the characters break down rom-coms. It's a self-aware movie, but still follows the same clich├ęs. So, it's predictable, yet still funny and entertaining.

Oh, the beginning of the closing credits is pretty cool. A pair of hands works the credits like a smartphone.

All of those things make this the f*ck buddies movie you should watch, not NO STRINGS ATTACHED. I love Natalie Portman, but Ashton Kutcher is horrible.

For Gluck, it's a couple notches below EASY A (4.5 stars). Maybe an easy B.

Around the Table:
"I liked this movie and not just because we get to see Justin Timberlake’s ass. I enjoyed the love story part of it and find some of it to be true to life, especially the part where Justin’s character is making excuses to his sister of why it wouldn’t work with Mila’s character." -- My wife


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