107 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2011
Both Timberlake and Kunis have recently broken up with their partner. Kunis plays a recruiter for GQ magazine, and Timberlake is someone she "stalked" to head up their Art department. Timberlake's ex-gf is Emma Stone. What is interesting is that Kunis' character is the laid back type of person we would expect Emma Stone to play, while Stone (what little we see of her) plays an emotional character we would expect Kunis to play. I don't know if the producers did this by design, or they just lucked into it, but knowing this made the movie funny on a different level. Kunis is savvy enough to realize she has been ruined by romantic movies as she awaits her Prince to sweep her off her feet. You know at the end of the movie, come running to her as she is about to leave, and pour his heart out to her.
Kunis gives Timberlake a fast paced tour of NY, perhaps one of the best sells for Manhattan I have seen in a long time. The movie verbally condemns Hollywood's romantic comedies while ironically creating one identical to it. With some quick character build up, the film goes to a scene where Timberlake and Kunis decide that they will have sex without the emotional baggage while swearing on a Bible app. No complications, just sex. Guess how that turns out?
Woody Harrelson plays a gay sports editor who is not shy about being gay. Woody gives Timberlake love advice, "It's not who you want to spend Friday night with, but who you want to spend all day Saturday with."
The sex scenes between Kunis and Timberlake are more comical than romantic. Timberlake likes to keep his socks on and sneezes after an orgasm, and Kunis is a screamer. Patricia Clarkson plays Kunis' super hip mother, who has never really told her daughter who her father was. In her first few minutes he was Greek, Puerto Rican, or Russian...she is sure he was Eurasian.
The dialogue is fast and witty. Kunis did a background check on a guy she dated.
Timberlake responds: "Did you do a background check on me?"
Kunis:"How could you possibly max out an Old Navy card?"
Timberlake: "I was just out of college and really into cargo pants."
In spite of the adult themes, the movie has a lighthearted chick flick Disney quality to it. The acting was good. The movie was very clever. If you liked "No Strings Attached" you might find this one on par or slightly better.
F-bomb,sex, brief nudity, deals with Alzheimer's. 5 star chick flick
55 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2011
"Friends with Benefits" has a lightning fast, very smart script, it moves like a limousine, and it features another stunningly moving character turn by Richard Jenkins. It's good enough that it revives hope for that troubled genre, the Romantic Comedy. It's worth seeing, more than once.
"Friends with Benefits" surprised me. I don't understand why Justin Timberlake is famous - what is remarkable about him, really? - and Mila Kunis does nothing for me. We live in the age of decline of the Romantic Comedy. "Friends with Benefits" was not the forgettable, rote, mass-produced studio product I expected. It was actually really good.
"Friends with Benefits" began really fast, and I found myself bobbing along on the script's energy. I noticed how much I was enjoying it and I kept waiting for the film to drop the ball, to let me down, to betray itself, to fall into predictable clichéd traps. That didn't happen for quite a while, and the film's failings were slow in coming, minor, and didn't ruin the film.
What "Friends with Benefits" does right it does very, very right. The script is amazing. There are jokes that you'd need some literacy and maturity to understand. They fly right by, no pause for the viewer to laugh, or to google the references, before the next one-liner or trenchant observation rolls down the chute. Our culture has been so dumbed down that hearing a joke that one would have to have some knowledge of history or culture or even just the front page of the newspaper to understand amazed and gratified me.
The movie's strong point is that it is so fast; that's also a bit of a weak point. Legendary director Frank Capra said that "sometimes your story has to stop and you just let your audience look at your people. You want your audience to like them...these scenes are quite important to a film. When the audience rests and they look at the people, they begin to smile." "Friends with Benefits" is so frenetic, it never creates a memorable screen moment where Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) do nothing but look movie-star lovely and get under our skin.
Richard Jenkins works some powerful mojo. He's a character actor, older, bland-looking and bald, but in every movie I've seen him in lately, especially so in "Eat Pray Love," he seems to be visiting from a different, better movie, and I want, after the movie I'm watching is over, to watch the superior film from which Jenkins has visited. In "Friends with Benefits" Jenkins plays Dylan's father who is suffering the early stages of Alzheimer's. He is funny, profound, arresting and truly lovable. What is Jenkins doing? Whatever it is, more actors should do it.
Jenna Elfman, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson, Nolan Gould and Masi Oka are all very, very good in supporting roles. Clarkson, as Jamie's mother, delivers a liner about Jamie's father that made me laugh out loud.
On the surface, "Friends with Benefits" looks like too many other, lesser movies. It's not. It's a really good, worthwhile film.
53 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2011
For me, the track record of the 2011 comedy releases did not seem great, so I was a bit nervous about watching this movie. That being said, I was completely wrong and surprised by this film. Starring Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, and Woody Harrelson, "Friends With Benefits" is, well, exactly about what it sounds. Timberlake, upon moving to New York to take a new job, has as his only friend Kunis, who lured him to New York for the job to begin with. As the two develop as friends, so does their relationship develop. While the ending may be predictable, the storyline of the friendship, a character with Alzheimer's, and the "realness" of the film lend reality to comedy.
Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, and Woody Harrelson all shine in this film, with Timberlake and Kunis taking charge of the lead roles and producing a sense of positive interaction and giving believability to the plot and the humor. Harrelson, as a side character (Timberlake's gay co-worker/friend), is flamboyantly gay and unafraid to show it: creating many entertaining moments in his own right.
Sure, the plot is believable. Most plots of romantic comedies are. This film, for me, was different in that it was also about Timberlake's film-dad suffering from Alzheimers, about Kunis' mommy-issues, and about the development of the characters as adults. This is far from a rote comedy along the lines of every other script, making it enjoyable!
At points, I couldn't stop laughing, particularly in the interaction in the bedroom between Kunis and Timberlake as well as due to Harrelson's character. To be sure, the humor is crude and sexual most of the time, but you could probably guess that from the title.
FINAL REVIEW: BUY IT
This film is definitely one to purchase. I will be doing so as soon as it leaves theaters. It was more than a romantic comedy, for me, just as it was more than a raunchy, sexual comedy. If you like Kunis and Timberlake, they are at the top of their games in this film. Don't hesitate to buy, but be aware that it is a very sexual movie!
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2011
This has been a magical summer for movies. A lot of movies that I was really looking forward to, have turned out to be lousy. However, I've seen a lot of movies that I expected to be awful, but ended up being really good. Thus, "Friends With Benefits". Romantic comedies are always awful for me. I love them, but they make me feel like crap. The reason why this is, is because most of them are dishonest, and make you feel like only in the movies, things work out in love. "Friends With Benefits" is refreshingly honest, kind of sad, yet hopelessly optimistic. Its dialogue is fast and quick, kind of "Juno"-esque.
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are both coming off Oscar roles. Justin Timberlake was surprisingly good in "The Social Network", as was Kunis in "Black Swan". Maybe it was a fluke that both of them were so good in those movies, but this is the kind of movie they belong in. Their characters, Dylan and Jamie, have personalities, and characteristics that mesh with each other in a really awesome way, which doesn't come very often in romantic comedies.
The story, as for most romantic comedies, isn't surprising at all. It's two people who are coming out of bad relationships, who meet in a classic cute romantic comedy way, and decide that relationships don't work out, and to remain "friends with benefits", or friends who (constantly) have sex. As you could imagine, this doesn't work out the way they had hoped. There was a similar movie released this January, with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher called "No Strings Attached", which, clearly will be referenced in most, if not all reviews for "Friends With Benefits". I, admittedly, didn't hate that movie. But it's a piece of dreck compared to this one.
It's a typical hour-and-forty-five minute romantic comedy. However, it's kind of this generation's "When Harry Met Sally". It's "When Dylan Met Jamie". The two leads are so great with each other, one the yin to the other's yang. You can tell that they would be conceivable as a real couple. They aren't the perfect, immediately compatible couple that usually headlines a movie such as this. Justin Timberlake keeps proving that he's a better actor than a lot of pop stars. He's insanely likable in this movie. Mila Kunis had a smaller, haunting kind of role in "Black Swan", where I thought she was above average. She's really allowed to shine in this one, bringing life to a character that could have been much less. The attitude of this movie is sometimes gritty, always quick, witty, and urban. It makes good use of the time it's given. It acknowledges the ridiculous romantic comedies that it could have been. Jamie and her friend, at one point, walk by a poster for Katherine Heigl's "The Ugly Truth", and says "Shut up, Katherine Heigl! You stupid liar!". A fake in-movie-movie, with Rashida Jones and Jason Segel, is meant to emphasize how ridiculous most romantic comedies are. Great stuff.
Another thing this one has that "No Strings Attached" didn't have is a great supporting cast. Patricia Clarkson plays Jamie's mother, a hippie lush who is really damn funny. Woody Harrelson also does a good job as Dylan's unapologetically bold and hilarious gay boss. He gets kudos for not making a gay character a stereotype. Richard Jenkins plays Dylan's Alzheimer's stricken father, and Jenna Elfman plays his sister. They add to the quick and zippy feel of the movie. Cameos by Emma Stone and Andy Samberg are always welcome, too.
While some probably won't like this one as much as I did, I liked all of its characters. I felt like each character was well-developed and interesting. The quick writing is what makes it better than a lot of similar movies, but when everything in it is mashed together, the whole package is very good. I look forward to watching it again.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2011
The story follows Dylan, an artistic web designer turned GQ artistic director by Jamie, a NY head hunter, as he moves to NY and they form a friendship...and then some. The first few minutes gave the writers a chance to prove that you weren't wasting your time with this movie. We are monsooned by a clever mix of classic and rather risqué anecdotal break-up quips as both Dylan (the ever-charming Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (the saucy Mila Kunis) both find themselves single again via synchronous break-ups. They both make the same claim: that they'll essentially be sexually aloof and just enjoy themselves.
For some reason the movie depicts LA folks like they're from some kind of cow town--extra cautious about crossing the street, mild-mannered, socially naïve, non-confrontational and claustrophobic in the skyscraper-rich concrete jungle. Likewise, New Yorkers come off as more in-your-face and edgy. I really think of LA as sort of a drier NY with a tan, but otherwise city folks are city folks. Despite the constant flinging of pro-NY propaganda both actors are their naturally charismatic, audience-pleasing selves.
The first (sex) scene that lives up to the movie's title is a hilariously endearing and very chatty session which seems like a rehearsal before filming a how-to instructional video on sex. Great moments of this movie include a sex scene montage with a lot of well-placed and relatable dialogue, Woody Harrelson thinking JT is gay, every single Shaun White cameo scene, JT rapping and busting out some old school Criss Cross, and Woody Harrelson choosing Shaun White over Barrack Obama for a GQ cover. Yup, that's what America has been reduced to.
With small roles, the brilliantly cast Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg), Nolan Gould (TV's Modern Family), and Richard Jenkins (HBO's Six Feet Under, Burn After Reading) are the sister, nephew and father you want to bring a girl home to meet. All actors do a perfect job of showing us that they see what Dylan and Jamie don't. It reminds me of my own friends waving their hands at me saying "it's nothing serious" or "we're just friends" and then getting a wedding invitation a year later. It's so cute when they don't see it yet, isn't it?
Kunis and Timberlake's on screen chemistry is so strong that it just made me feel good whenever they were interacting with one another. The movie gets tactfully real a bit towards the end, but it should come as no spoiler alert that you feel all warm and fuzzy at the end. This adorable RomCom is well worth the watch.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2011
A lot of time a lack of chemistry between the main characters in a romcom will leave a movie down, they just aren't believable in their roles and can seem wooden and stiff, however Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis change this trend as it's their on screen chemistry that makes this movie what it is, very enjoyable.
The main synopsis of the movie is that both Timberlake and Kunis are unlucky in love and Timberlake moves from L.A to New York where Kunis lands him a job at GQ, the two quickly become good friends. The movie is fast paced and both Kunis and Timberlake are perfect for their roles, there is plenty of laughs a long the way and features a strong supporting cast. Woody Harrelson is Hilarious in his role as Tommy, the head sports writer for GQ who happens to be gay and is convinced that Timberlake is also gay. Patricia Clarkson plays Kunis hippy loving mother who can't recall what nationality Kunis dad is. Richard Jenkins plays Timberlake's dad who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Emma Stone(who could probably have done a good job playing Kunis role if chosen) has a very small role as Timberlakes girlfriend who happens to be obsessed with John Mayer!
While the movie never strays too far from the usual romcom rules it is a funny movie that is well held together by it's lead characters.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2011
Let's cut to the chase. This film has 3 things going for it that makes it a pretty good romantic comedy --
(1) Chemistry: Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake interact with each other so well on-screen that at the end of the film you wonder if they ever were a couple in real-life. Their flirtations don't seem forced; their body language is in sync and they seem, at times to be oblivious to the rest of the world (or at least the cameras) in their scenes together.
(2) A Strong Supporting Cast: This movie has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to its supporting cast. Richard Jenkins is phenomenal in his role as Timberlake's on-screen dad. And it's a difficult part. He is asked to play a man who is struggling mightily with a life-altering situation but is trying to live with it with all the grace and wit that he can still muster. Patricia Clarkson, was excellent as well as Mila Kunis's wildly inappropriate mom. (In fact, her character helps the audience understand why her daughter grew up to be such a tightly-wound, Type- A adult.) But, all of the supporting actors, Woody Harrelson was the star. Playing a sexually-aggressive sports editor, he slyly murmurs off-color lines with fantastic comedic timing but also manages to be the film's thought-provoking voice of reason.
(3) A Real Script: At their worst, romantic comedies are mind-numbingly predictable. Many recycle the same plot, plug-in random actors and actresses and simply expect audiences to flock to the theatres. Hollywood seems to be saying "hey, I know you have seen `50 First Dates' but we are rolling out a new version starring Luke Wilson and (whoever the `It- Girl of the Moment' is) that you must see." While we may never be able to escape the same ol' storyline (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy eventually wins girl back by doing something both ludicrous and sweet), this film does its best to try a few new things and it deserves credit for that.
In conclusion, does this movie rival the 90s classics like "When Harry Met Sally" and "Pretty Woman" or even Mila Kunis's prior outstanding film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"? No. But was it really fun to watch on a lazy summer afternoon? Absolutely.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2011
Mila Kunis is Jamie, a young New York headhunter. Justin Timberlake is Dylan, an art director living in LA. When Jamie recruits Dylan for the job of "GQ" magazine, they agree to start a relationship which is strictly "physical." Having just broken up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, Jamie and Dylan think everything will be fine - a relationship without complications and emotional baggage. Of course, it works ... for a while.
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake (if not the characters they play) are so likable and charming that you almost forget "Friends with Benefits" (directed by Will Gluck, "Easy A") eventually becomes what it is mocking, a formulaic romantic Hollywood comedy. Without their spirited performances the raunchy rom-com would have been a mess. While we all know where the film's story is going, we are ready to accept it, clichés and all.
Supporting actors include Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson and Richard Jenkins. They all turn in solid acting jobs, and cameos from Masi Oka, Andy Samberg, Emma Stone and Shaun White (as himself) may add a few laughs, but it is the beautifully shot locations of New York City and Los Angeles that are really attractive.
Thank to the two leads, "Friends with Benefits" is a better than average romantic comedy, which is an old-fashioned love story at heart with a few modern twists.
Not to be confused with TV series "Friends with Benefits." Also, "Friends with Benefits" happens to be one of the working titles of Ivan Reitman-directed "No Strings Attached" starring the "Black Swan" star Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. It's a little bit confusing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2011
Went with a group of people who ended up loving up. Then anyone I know who went really loved it and enjoyed it too. This is one movie I would actually PAY to see again at the theater. Justin and Mila had great chemistry and were both very funny. I was surprised to see how funny Justin was but shouldn't have been he is great on Saturday Night Live. If you are looking for a deep movie this is not it. If you are looking for a light funny movie that could be real and that could actually happen this would be it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2012
Yes, this is a rom-com but not your typical one. It has quick-witted snappy dialogue you can imagine you and your friends would actually say and not just a series of "oh, aren't we clever" one-liners. In other words, it takes place in an adult world where people have actual lives (and jobs!) and have actual conversations between all the sex.
The chemistry between Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake is perfect. The story also makes sense especially when you get the full picture of their family backgrounds. The supporting cast could have been gratuitous but isn't and Woody Harrelson steals the show as a foulmouthed gay sports editor at GQ. Richard "No Pants" Jenkins takes another turn as one of the most underrated actors around as Timberman's Alzheimery dad. Dharma Elfman plays Justin's sis. Kunis's mom is played by the always terrific Patricia Clarkson who nails the hippy dippy mom role to a tie-dye T. Gratuitous Emma Stone is classic in her lone scene. Gratuitous Andy Samberg as well in this.
The extras are nothing to write home about but the movie stands well enough on its own to be worthy of viewing. Plus I have two words that send this movie over the top: flash mob. Watch and you'll see what I mean.