Saturday, June 18, 2011

DVD - No Strings Attached

Romantic comedies. Arguably the most hated upon genres of film out there at the moment. Many people would put that down to the fact that we are all too cynical to even care about Jennifer Aniston finding the man of her dreams or having Gerard Butler falling in love with someone even though that is against his nature. But you know what I think it is? It's too hard to watch a romantic comedy because we're all jealous of how predictable these people's lives are. And, well, I guess we are all jealous of the fact that these people are in love. Sweet, sugary, syrupy love.

So instead of watching people being all happy because they're in love, what do we watch in a romantic comedy these days?

We watch people having sex. Because instead of being in a sweet, sugary, syrupy loving relationship, these people are 'sex friends'. Therefore, we skip all of the cute little dates, the many gift-giving ceremonies, and all of those painful kisses in the rain. They don't mean anything. Watching sex friends on film, however, means something. Because, on the off chance that the pair forget something, we could have a sequel featuring an infant. Which would be very entertaining, indeed.

Anyway, the latest film in the ongoing 'sex friends' trend is No Strings Attached. Starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. Which is where we have our first problem: a lot of people hate Ashton Kutcher, and a lot of people love Natalie Portman (in that respected actress kind of way). Don't worry. Kutcher will be Kutcher, but Portman is Portman. And that's how this film has class.

The story, of course, is about two people who decide to ditch the seriousness of a relationship for sex. Emma (Portman) is a medical resident in LA, who has seen Adam (Kutcher) a few times since a summer camp that they shared together when they were kids. One night Adam discovers that his father (Kevin Kline) has shacked up with his girlfriend (Ophelia Lovibond), and Adam decides to get drunk and call every woman in his phone, ending up passed out in Emma's room. And thus, their 'relationship' begins. Emma doesn't have a good handle on her emotions, and decides that starting a serious relationship with Adam is just a plain bad idea. Instead, they use each other for the sex.

I bet you've already guessed what happens at the end. I ain't gonna ruin it for you by saying whether or not your prediction is true. But yeah, No Strings Attached is a pretty straight forward movie. It doesn't try to be anything different and there are those cringe-worthy predictable moments that always pop up in films like these. One thing I do have to say, though, is that this handles the whole 'sex friends' thing a lot better than Love and Other Drugs. Because, unlike that movie, this one actually knew what it wanted to be. It didn't want to be a medical drama crossed with soft-core porn crossed with a love story of sorts. It just wanted to be a cute story about a relationship that isn't serious, even though one party wanted it to be. That doesn't come without some cute moments either. I mean, after watching this film, I want some guy to bring me cupcakes and make me a period mix CD. Seriously, that's like, the best idea I've ever heard.

No Strings Attached certainly isn't a great film, but I really did enjoy it. I'm willing to put that down to the fact that I'm going through a bit of a Natalie Portman phase at the moment. She was really adorable in this movie, even though she wasn't supposed to be. I actually did feel a little sorry for Ashton when she kept brushing him off, and it takes a good actress to make anyone feel sorry for Ashton. Speaking of him, he was average, pretty much as good as you could expect. I really liked the supporting cast, even though they didn't get a lot of time to shine. Greta Gerwig really impressed me with her lovely performance in the otherwise unlovable Greenberg, and she's still as lovely here. Olivia Thirlby was so underused it wasn't funny. Seriously, give her some better stuff! Kevin Kline was amusing as Adam's father. Ophelia Lovibond was really cool too, in a stereotypical way. Lake Bell's character, however, really cheesed me off, for some unknown reason.

You can expect what you want to expect from No Strings Attached. You can let yourself think the worst of this because it's an Ashton Kutcher comedy. You can feel like it has some class because Natalie Portman is in it. Truth is, the concept itself is already dated, but the film is very simple. And this time, simplicity works.

THE VERDICT: It is a funny and sassy rom-com, plagued by many of the usual downfalls in the genre. Natalie Portman's star power gets us through.

What I hoped for:

What I got:


  1. I have a crush on Ophelia Lovibond's name. Anyways, this seems like a nice time pass film...will catch that whenever it "world premieres" on the telly here.
    Gah you saw Dorian Gray. I had vowed that would be the last film I will ever see cuz I find someone hot in it. Then I saw I am Number Four. Well also X-Men (I'm actually gonna go see it again!) but it's in a different league all together.

  2. I thought this was the worst movie I have seen all year. I didn't find it very funny and it was barely romantic (at the end). Both Portman and Kutcher are just coasting in this bland and utterly forgettable flick.

    Congrats on your Best New LAMB win!

  3. Ugh, I really hated this film.
    It was pretty much everything I dislike about films these days... But my reaction to it was particularly violent for some reason, so I can understand how others would have liked it more than I did.

    Also, congrats on winning Best New Lamb!

  4. Ashton Kutcher is always a reasonn for me to avoid a movie!! Killers was the last straw for me as it was absolutley appalling. Natalie Portman is well above this type of stuff and only turned up for the cheque at the end. She can do better and has.
    Sure there is room for the rom/com genre but I wish there was some thought put into them quality wise.

  5. I have no opinion on this film. Just came here to congratulate your winning the Best New Lamb Award.

  6. I liked Portman in this, but the rest of the film just boggs her down a whole lot because it's just not funny at all. Good Review!

  7. Nikhat - Ophelia Lovibond's name is awesome! I just really love the name Ophelia. Like, I'm probably going to name my kid that.
    Gah, Dorian Gray wasn't that great. And Ben Barnes wasn't that great either. I only watched it coz it has Rebecca Hall in it and someone told me to last year. And thank you!

    Castor - I'm sure there'll be worse movies than this before the end of the year :P

    Mr. Xploit, Esquire - Ummmmm...?

    Jack - Ha, I didn't think you would have even watched it in the first place! I guess it was pretty awful...blame the massive amounts of drugs I am on for making me like it :P

    Brent - Yeah, I don't usually watch Ashton Kutcher movies. Killers was bloody awful. Hopefully when Portman returns to work after her baby and all she'll do some better work than this, for sure!

    Bonjour Tristesse - You are too kind! Thank you!

    Dan - Portman's pretty much awesome in anything. Thanks!

  8. I did wonder why Natalie Portman had decided to star in this film. But perhaps it is the pay-day movie after Black Swan. But anything with Ashton Kutcher, in my opinion, is going to be rubbish. I saw the poster for this and knew I'd have to steer well clear of this film. However, I do like Portman and since you say it is funny I may give it a go if it appears on television.

  9. I guess she needed something...a bit less serious after Black Swan. But even I'm not sure why she starred in it. Has there ever been a good Ashton Kutcher movie? No. And the poster is so photoshopped it hurts to look at.
    Seriously, only watch this if you aren't paying for it. It's not that great, but it's okay to pass time!

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