49 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly Good. Restores Faith in Romantic Comedies,
This review is from: Friends with Benefits (DVD)"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.
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Initial post: Mar 23, 2012 2:15:24 PM PDT
Every one of your reviews are horrible. Stop watching movies.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2012 2:54:53 AM PDT
J. petrie says:
I thought this review was one of the more profound. Funny, I thought it was a good synopsis. And their Frank Capra moment....when they make love at his father's house instead of having sex in New York because they 'need to play tennis'- which I think was a weak line - to begin with. The screenwriters should have pondered that one longer.
This movie was a surprise to me and much better than the 'No Strings Attached'. Kunis and Timberlake both had the right vibe to keep this fast paced and witty.
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