Friends with Benefits – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on September 10, 2011 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Liz Glotzer, Will Gluck, Martin Shafer, Janet Zucker, Jerry Zucker
DIRECTOR – Will Gluck
WRITER – Keith Merryman, David A. Newman, and Will Gluck, (screenplay), Harley Peyton, Keith Merryman, David A. Newman (Story)
CAST – Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman
MUSIC – Halli Cauthery, Ryan Perez-Daple
Rom-coms are meant to be fun and breezy. Just about engaging enough to lighten up the mood and meaningful enough to usher in that wanton tear. As a story, ‘Friends with Benefits’ had a lot of potential to squeeze in oodles of both.
Our protagonists, Dylan and Jamie are struggling with Hollywood clichés of romance even as they are dealing with their own emotional issues. They decide to get involved physically and strictly keep off the emotional territory. But is that possible? For a rom-com, definitely not!
So Dylan and Jamie meander through the threatening territories of their own emotions and conceptions of romantic love. Dylan is dealing with intimacy issues born out of having divorced parents and Jamie with having no identity of her father. To top it she has a maverick mother who provides little comfort to her emotionally confused world.
For a film that tries hard to decry Hollywood-produced myths of ever-lasting romance and destroy the monster of Prince Charming, it employs every cliché in the book to tell its story. So Jamie and Dylan start off as great friends, getting the best out of each other and helping each move on. And they even discover their love through this friendship. This, and everything else that happens in between is, not very imaginative, one would have to concede.
However, it is a pleasure watching the perky and sensuous Mila Kunis swaying between the wayward and lost girl. Her styling brings out her sensuousness and there is an attractive abandon with which she wears her shorts as well as skirts. Justin Timberlake seems a bit flaky and out of sorts with the depth he is called to invest in his character, many a times remaining a card-board cut-out of the character he is playing.
For all the promise, there isn’t much bedroom romp in this one either. Neither is the narrative engaging enough emotionally, meandering as it goes to its predictable end.
Somewhere in between the film adds a paean to New York, the big, bad city full of energy but fails to bring out its liveliness either. Add to it the plaid and sometimes downright tacky cinematography (a few grainy and bad digital shots espied too!), the film becomes only memorable for being yet another predictable cliché from the big Hollywood factory of never-ending rom-coms.