Friday, 9 March 2012

Hollywood at its best: Friends with Benefits

Film blurb
(USA, 2011) Director: Will Gluck. Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Woody Harrelson, Patricia Clarkson and Richard Jenkins. Genre: Romantic Comedy. 109 mins. 

About the film
Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) meet as new singletons, both having just been dumped by their partners. Dylan, based in L.A., is headhunted by Jamie's company in New York. New to the Big Apple and not knowing anyone else, Dylan and Jamie quickly become the best of friends. During a drunken conversation about love and sex, they decide that having sex is merely like playing tennis. Cue playing tennis with the obvious complications.

What I thought
This film really narked me. What sets out to be anti-cliché and anti-Hollywood, is unsurprisingly very clichéd and very Hollywood. At the beginning of the film Jamie shouts "Shut Up, Katherine Heigl!" at a poster of the actress (well-known for playing in Romantic Comedies) and whilst this is funny and no doubt rings true for many people, it's a prime example of where the film tries to be something it's not. 

Half way through the film Jamie meets someone else and stops 'playing tennis' with Dylan and you wonder if this really will be the unpredictable chick flick we've all been waiting for. But no. Things don't work out with the new guy and Benefit-Boy wheels out his screwed up family and traumatic childhood. Oh, so that's his reason for being a commitment-phobe. Clichéd? Not at all! 

On the plus side Timberlake and Kunis have good chemistry and the script is pacy and funny in places. However, more could have been made of the strength of the supporting cast. Woody Harrelson is great as Dylan's gay work colleague, as is Patricia Clarkson as Jamie's somewhat unorthodox mother. Richard Jenkins does a great job of playing Dylan's ageing father, but none of them get enough airtime. 

This is yet another slice of Hollywood life, not real life. 


  1. Hacked-off from Hong Kong in full flow, methinks! But you are absolutely right. A missed opportunity.

  2. We zagen hem in het vliegtuig naar Hong Kong, wat een toeval! Ach, als je al vier films achter elkaar kijkt om de tijd te doden was het best aardig tijdverdrijf!


    1. Ja, dat is zo! Als we weten dat we een lange vlucht zullen maken, gaan we van te voren een paar maanden niet naar de bioscoop!


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