Director: Will Gluck
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Bryan Greenberg, Richard Jenkins, Woody Harrelson
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: Sony Pictures Releasing International
Rating: M18 (Some Sexual Scenes & Sexual References)
Official Website: http://www.fwb-movie.com/
Opening Day: 29 September 2011
Synopsis: A young female headhunter (Mila Kunis) in New York convinces a potential recruit (Justin Timberlake) to accept a job in the Big Apple. Despite an attraction to each other, both realize they're everything they've been running from in a relationship and decide to see what happens if they leave emotion out of it and keep it strictly physical.
This reviewer never did have too many friends (nope, those “friends” on Facebook do not really count), but he would be glad to have just one friend, especially if she (yes, it has to be someone from the opposite gender) was one like Jamie.
You see, Jamie is a friend with benefits, and Dylan is one lucky dude to have a friend like her. These two are protagonist of this romantic comedy where a guy and a girl think it’s possible to be just friends whilst having lots of sex. This may be the case in most Hollywood movies, but they soon realise it’s not going to simply add the act of sex to their friendship. They also find out that getting physical does lead to something more complicated – love.
This is no doubt one of those formulaic romantic comedies which have been made to death in Hollywood. Come on, did you really think Dylan and Jamie would have an unhappy ending? And realistically speaking (this reviewer hates to burst his own bubble sometimes), can there possibly be a better looking guy and girl who happen to cross each other’s paths and decide to engage in lots of sex in real life?
However, there is something charming about this American production which will retain your attention throughout its 109 minute runtime.
Okay, we admit the countless sex scenes are one highlight of this Will Gluck directed flick, but mind you, they are not of the erotic kind (it’s rated M18, not R21), so those hoping to be treated with a meaningless flesh parade will have to look elsewhere. Kudos to the movie’s leading stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis for being able to anchor the rather paper thin plot with their charismatic performances.
After his stellar performances in Southland Tales (2007) and The Social Network (2010), we are convinced that Timberlake is one actor who can hold his own ground. The former Mickey Mouse Club star (fine – he should be credited for his role as the lead singer of the boyband ‘N Sync) has an appealing allure which may just make him the next big thing to look out for in Hollywood. Here, this likeable personality is complemented by Kunis, who last made us sit up and watch in Black Swan (2010). The Ukrainian born star sports an attractive character in the movie, and it is hard for any male audience not to fall in love with her. Timberlake and Kunis have a sizzling chemistry which makes the predictably uninteresting script somewhat believable.
After the surprisingly good Easy A (2010), director Gluck delivers another fluffy but enjoyable movie. He even has veteran actors like Woody Harrelson (as a foul mouthed gay colleague), Patricia Clarkson (as a sexed up mother), Richard Jenkins (as a father suffering Alzheimer’s disease) and Jenna Elfman (as a caring elder sister) in his ensemble cast. Also, look out for a cameo by Emma Stone at the beginning of the movie.
While Hollywood has served comedies like No Strings Attached and Love and Other Drugs, which feature a substantial amount of, ahem, sex, this latest entry to the genre proves to be the most enjoyable one yet.
(The story may be predictably tiresome, but its charismatic stars help to save the day)
Review by John Li