Can two people have sex and stay "just friends"? There's a reason that premise has been milked in two romantic comedies already this year. It's a tantalizing conundrum - and one ripe for laughs.
Can two people have sex and stay "just friends"?
There's a reason that premise has been milked in two romantic comedies already this year. It's a tantalizing conundrum - and one ripe for laughs.
"Friends with Benefits" joins this spring's "No Strings Attached" in taking two terribly attractive young actors and seeing what happens when they try to be both buddies and lovers.
Dylan (Justin Timberlake) runs a successful website in Los Angeles. When GQ magazine hopes to lure him away to New York, they send in corporate recruiter Jamie (Mila Kunis).
Fast-talking Jamie banters her way into Dylan's trust, and he soon decides to take the job and move to New York. The two maintain a friendship, and while there are clearly some sparks, they profess to not see each other "in that way."
They discuss their failed relationships and decide that they can fulfill each other's sexual needs and still remain the best of friends. No emotion. Just sex.
Presumably, things get a bit more complicated.
"Friends with Benefits" is a clear crowd-pleaser, and there are going to be a lot of people perfectly pleased with it as date-night fare. But the movie and I didn't really hit it off.
I guess my first problem is that Timberlake and Kunis may have too much onscreen chemistry. You wouldn't think that could be a bad thing.
But their rapid-fire banter kicks off early, and it always has a sexual tinge to it. The audience knows they're going to get to the "benefits" sooner than later. The movie is less good at setting up the "friends" part.
It's almost impossible not to like the leads, as they are charming, funny and work well together. And that includes their scenes in the bedroom.
The eye-candy factor can't be ignored. Yes, ladies, we see Justin's naked butt. And guys won't mind the amount of time Kunis spends in her underwear.
But the story remains problematic. A late turn involving Dylan's Alzheimer's-stricken father feels out-of-place. It's handled well but often seems to just be shameless emotional manipulation. It feels a bit like a "Lifetime" movie.
I'm sure many will find chemistry with "Benefits." For me, it was a promising date that just didn't quite work out.