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Movie Review: Friends With Benefits
This movie has a gaping excess of space for tons of potential.
There are a lot of good things about this film but it still struggles along with terrible cliches and the odd joke that flips into nothing. It's essentially a balancing act; the terrible cliches weighing down the amazing chemistry of Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. That's an ultimate plus in this movie, because you can really believe in the coin-toss of a friendship/sexual-desire that these two people have with each other. However this film has what we call the cliche side-characters.
You've got the gay best friend, you've got the father with personal issues, you've got the sister who gives good advice, you've got the horny mom that is played up for laughs, you've got the little kid actor who's just there to make you go "aww". . .so basically everything that you'd expect in a love comedy.
These characters, especially Woody Harrelson (the gay dude), have almost completely no character development and serve no purpose to the film except to give us the occasional chuckle. I wish the story-arch with Justin Timberlake's character's father wasn't as cheesy and predictable as it turned out. I wish the story-arch with Mila Kunis's character's mother had just a little bit more depth instead of just playing up the milf-angle for laughs. And last but not least I wish the character Woody Harrelson played had a little bit more personality instead of simply spouting out gay jokes throughout - they could have done a LOT more with his character and I was a little disappointed.
Whilst this movie tries to serve as the anti-comedy, it ends up falling back to basics and makes you wish they tried a lot harder in some scenes. Because, for me personally, I wanted to like this movie. The relationship that the two leads had was extremely realistic and funny from the get-go and so I was really cheering for them to end up together in the end. Because you really sympathise with Mila Kunis's character and you just want her to be happy. (happy with me, more than anything.)
But alas, it falls onto the formula and ends up being exactly what it tries to parody; a typical romance film.
My advice? Don't watch it alone or with your guy friends. . .you're gonna just end up depressing yourself. Go catch it with a chick or a female friend, it's the type of film that might just help you get lucky. It's got an odd sort of charm to it, and I don't think you'll regret catching it with a hot chick who you can laugh along with.
Rental = go over to a hot chick's place and watch it with her on her laptop in her bedroom. Can't go wrong there.