Despite a poor first trailer and the fact that a movie about this same scenario opened six months ago (No Strings Attached), I expected nothing good from Friends with Benefits. R-rated comedies have been the sheer winners this summer – and Friends with Benefits is no exception.
Dylan (Justin Timberlake, The Social Network) is a successful West Coast guy making the move to New York City for a high-paying prestigious new job with GQ’s online magazine. Being completely out of his element, he clings to the one person that he knows in NYC – Jamie (Mila Kunis, Black Swan), the head-hunting recruiter that brought him in for the job.
Jamie and Dylan are damaged goods. Both were recently dumped – which makes for a hilarious opening sequence – and they each carry around a certain amount of baggage due to outside circumstances. For the sake of not spoiling the movie’s source of genuine heart, I’ll keep it spoiler-free and not mention those outside circumstances.
During one beer-filled night, after complaining about their lack of sex due to not wanting the emotional responsibilities that come with it, they talk themselves into becoming sex-buddies. Some friends get together to play tennis, they get together to have non-committal casual sex. As you would suspect, conflict arises once emotions start to develop between the two.
Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed No Strings Attached. But Friends with Benefits has it beat in every way. It is far funnier, genuinely sweeter and features a whole lot of heart. The only warning that audiences might need pertains to the movie’s R rating and its graphic sex scenes. Several moments will leave you uncomfortable as they resemble scenes from soft-core, no-nudity porn. Yes, pervs of the internet, that means you will not be seeing Mila Kunis naked today. Sorry to break your spirit, but she’s even admitted that the two quick shots of nudity are actually a body double. But, on the other hand, those wanting to see Justin Timberlake naked are in for a treat. Yes, that’s his butt.
If you and your significant other can stomach solid R rated comedies, then Friends with Benefits is a perfectly satisfying selection for this weekend. It is far more entertaining that it appears.
Photo credit: Screen Gems