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Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Friends with Benefits", friendship, sex and clichés

Friends with Benefits

Dear film advertisers and people who write the synopsis on pages like imdb. Please stop lying. Allow me to use "Friends with Benefits" as an example.

While trying to avoid the clichés of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan and Jamie soon discover however that adding the act of sex to their friendship does lead to complications. IMDB

That's simply a huge, ridiculous lie. "Friends with Benefits" has many weaknesses, but if I had to name just one, it would be precisely how predictable and unoriginal this is. To the point of being a pretty boring film, in particular in its second half.

Let's say it clear: sorry, but a movie with the premise of can men and women just be friends? is very far from being new. And that's what we have here. Two young persons, Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis), tired of disappointing relations, that start building a friendship. Then one day they start to have sex. Just sex (don't really get the buzz about the sex scenes) + plus friendship, they try to convince themselves. But, of course, that complicates everything. New? Umm... Well, no.

At least, for a while, although predictable or unsurprising, the film was easygoing and dynamic, with a lightweight, modern pace that could have been appealing if maintained longer. Being a romantic comedy, I would say that won't make you laugh that much, but at least it can entertain you. The problem is that pleasant part only lasts for a bit more than 30 minutes. The remaining hour and a half is just boring, no matter the "bundle" designed by director Will Gluck looks pretty or cool.

Despite the zero depth, there's nothing wrong to say to the actors, because in my opinion they are ok considering how lame is the material they have. There's chemistry between them, and when their dialogues are not forced, the movie flows, even with some charm (that happens in the aforementioned first 30 minutes of the film). But unfortunately, Timberlake and Kunis don't go further than their shallow roles. What really annoys me is the existence of characters so unfortunate as Dylan's father. Are the writers adding an illness just to have a serious, dramatic note on the film? It doesn't make sense. Not to mention how awful is misusing such a great actor as Richard Jenkins (same can be said about Patricia Clarkson). He is just an example of how badly used are the secondary roles, between blatant clichés (Dylan's sister, played by Jenna Elfman, his eccentric friend played by Woody Harrelson) and the plain silly (Bryan Greenberg's role).

Sure, "Friends with Benefits" is not awful or offensive. But is mediocre and unremarkable.

SCORE: 4/10

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