I discovered at the same time that No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits were being made – two films with pretty much the same story but one of them involved the excellent Natalie Portman. Surely hers would be the better film.
Um. No. Where No Strings Attached falls over – any sort of clever writing and chemistry between the leads – Friends With Benefits thrives.
Who knew Justin Timberlake would actually turn out to be an relatively good actor? As Dylan Harper he is charming, funny and with his teeny bopper good looks, can turn most girls hearts a’fluttering. Mila Kunis also excels as headhunter Jamie Rellis – we know from her work in Family Guy and That 70’s Show that she behind that painfully gorgeous physique, she has an outstanding comedic ability. She is witty, gregarious and supremely sexy. Supporting characters that stand out are Patricia Clarkson as Jamie’s flighty mother and Woody Harrelson as Dylan’s outrageously and hilariously gay colleague.
The banter between them is well-written and well-delivered, and the filmmakers even manage to work in a bit of Timberlake singing without it seeming contrived. I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting (especially after a dire viewing of No Strings Attached) and even more so on second and third viewings. A very good rom-com with some real heart.