Sunday, 5 February 2012



A great trip to cinema, no strings attached.

12A, 109 Minutes. Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Bryan Greenberg, Richard Jenkins & Woody Harrelson. Director: Will Gluck. Screenplay: Keith Merryman, David A. Newman,Will Gluck & Harley Peyton

It doesn't matter who you take to this movie, friend, lover or something between your all going to benefit from a friendly romantic comedy with a lot more than just barrels of laughs and schmaltz. Following the success of Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman's 'No Strings Attached' comes 'Friends With Benefits', starring Portman's 'Black Swan' co-star Mila Kunis and Kutcher's favourite 'Punk'd' victim Justin Timberlake. This all seems a little too close to comfort, until you sit down to watch this flick and realise it lies in a class of it's own.

The two leads make the competition follow with their charisma, charm and chemistry. The pair appeal to both sexes, that is you men and women can put up with a lot of Justin and Mila's rear ends and vice versa (I'm sure the opposite sex won't have a problem). Kunis again is on her versatile and vivacious form, while pop's leading man Timberlake just keeps getting better as an actor (see also, his scene stealing performance in 'The Social Network' and more to come, trust us) even if is at the current cost of his musical career being on a milk carton. Nothings missing from this picture however. It's hilarious, but not all the time, meaning it isn't overbearing on the warmth and heart of this feel-good story. The easy going nature of the film also helps set the tone of a picture perfect shade to screens last late Summer.

The premise is simple, boy meets girl and they become 'F.W.B's' or whatever you want to call it. The plot however is not as shallow on that, as you really come to terms wit the grey areas in this black and white appearing comedy. Sure as a movie of this type it's cliched, (and it does a good job at joking about this thanks to a hilarious Jason Segal 'subplot') but it's not contrite. It's sincere too but not too serious. The film doesn't just deal with the complications of all kinds of relationship problems, it's also the second Hollywood picture to deal with the difficult problem of Alzheimer's with dignity, taste, tact and class. Yes this movie is that genuine.

There's also sweet support from Patrica Clarkson, Jenna Elfman (at one point you'd be easily fooled into thinking she's Renee Zewelleger) and the moving and marvelous Richard Jenkins. 'Cheers' go to Woody Harrelson however for the funniest performance as the versatile character acts up as a gay sportswriter and the ultimate buddy. From getting closer to the Hollywood sign and the Manhattan skyline, the awesome cities of New York and Los Angeles team up for more support with all their depth, character and charm. Everything just looks so good.

As slick and stylish as the 'GQ' background, this man and woman of the year really give us a cover story worth reading into. Complete with a high, scoring, classic, select by numbers soundtrack that reminds us of the good, ole days from 'Kris Kross' to literally jumping around to a lot of 'Semisonic' (no not 'Third Eyed Blind'). By this films grand, 'Closing Time' you'll benefit from these friends showing you in a non-generic way just how good and meaningful relationships can be, no matter what the label. There's more to this 'chick flick' than what meets the stereotype. There are strings attached after all. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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