Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlate star in the new romantic comedy Friends With Benefits.

Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlate star in the new romantic comedy Friends With Benefits.

Formulaic rom-com still entertains

Friends With Benefits doesn’t require a script, only a checklist.

  • Jul. 29, 2011 6:00 p.m.

 

Friends With Benefits: 3 and a 1/2 out of 5 stars

Friends With Benefits doesn’t require a script, only a checklist.  So similar to a handful of romantic comedies where pals become…..er… “more” – it really becomes a parade of pretty standard clichés, everything from the promiscuous parent to the gay pal to veteran character actor Richard Jenkins dispelling advice (which, to be honest, I could sit through a bunch of times, ‘cause darn man, that Jenkins is good).

Case in point; did you see No Strings Attached last winter? This is the same movie. Oh, different actors, yes, but same movie. In that one, Ashton Kutcher shared punch lines and rounds of the horizontal hokey-pokey with Natalie Portman.

In this one, it’s the same game plan, only Justin Timberlake gets all “Sexy Back” with Mila Kunis.

So there. Now that I’ve spent two paragraphs complaining (well, save for Richard Jenkins, ‘cause he is really good), let me say this; I liked Friends With Benefits.

Here’s the deal; despite the fact that the concept for the film is awfully stale, it’s fun.  Director Will Gluck, who did similar magic with last summer’s Easy A, has a knack for taking average fare, overdosing it with energy and zeal, and emerging with something pretty good. Not brilliant. But given that Friends With Benefits is not only a movie we’ve already seen, but a movie we saw six months ago, I’ll take pretty good.

Timberlake plays a Los Angeles graphics designer, recruited by headhunter Mila Kunis for a job at GQ Magazine in New York. He takes the gig, they buddy up and eventually they….well, you know.

Inevitably, an agreement like this hits a speed bump, that being love. But that doesn’t mean that Friends With Benefits doesn’t have a grand time rolling around in raunch before it eases in to the sweetness tub.

In fact, if there’s a major difference between Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached, it’s that this one is significantly naughtier.  It’s also funnier.  And….well, geez, those two aspects round out “pretty good” sufficiently, wouldn’t ya say?

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.