No Strings Attached
Release year: 2011
Director: Ivan Reitman
Screenwriter: Elizabeth Meriwether, Michael Samonek
Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline, Lake Bell, Greta Gerwig, Olivia Thirlby, Ludacris, Mindy Kaling
Emma (Natalie Portman) is a career focused medical resident who guards her feelings. Adam (Ashton Kutcher) is working as a goofer on a tv-show while hoping to one day be a writer, he has also just discovered his ex (Ophelia Lovibond) is dating his dad (Kevin Kline). When a drunken call leads to them spending the night together, they come up with the brilliant idea to be friends with benefits. But can they keep the romance out of it?
Directed by Ivan Reitman (Ghost Busters, 1984) this romantic comedy may loose points for being predictable but scores big in casting. Portman (V for Vendetta, 2005) is charmingly goofy and talented enough to give her character depth and show the insecurity hidden underneath. Kutcher (A Lot Like Love, 2005) has an ability to make his characters seem real and incredible sweet, something he manages here as well. They have great support from Kline (A Fish Called Wanda, 1988) as the terrible dad and Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha, 2012), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, 2007) and Mindy Kaling (This is the End, 2013) are all brilliant as Emma’s friends. Lake Bell reunits with Kutcher, whom she also worked with on What Happens in Vegas (2008), as the lovestruck co-worker played with a subtle and brilliant humouristic touch that makes you wonder why Bell isn’t used more in comedies. While it may be a mainstream rom-com it touches some serious issues with it’s female lead’s fear of emotionel commitment while daring to make jokes on some taboo subjects.
The original title for the script was ‘Fuck Buddies’ but this wouldn’t make it past the MPAA. It was changed to Friends With Benefits but then that title was changed because there was another movie with the same title starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. By the time pre-screening invitations were made, it had still not been decided whether the title would be No Strings Attached or Hooking Up.
Picture copyright: UIP