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(3.5 STARS) Nice Romantic Comedy with Two Charming Stars
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.