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For its Wit (And Kunis)

  • Ankur Pathak

    Ankur Pathak (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - February 15, 2014 11:32 AM IST
    3.4DM (185 ratings)
    Friends with BenefitsWatch trailerRelease date : September 09, 2011

    "Men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way," said Harry, assured of the already diminishing chances with Sally Albright. Friends with Benefits reaffirms, once again, what cinematically was plainly declared more than two decades ago in this Norah Eprhon-written, Rob Reiner-directed rom-com.

    Now what Gluck does to Friends with Benefits is tragic. Although its upright vulgar humour and direct references (read mockery) to popular culture occasionally arouses chuckles, how long can it victimise Katherine Heighl and her brand of films, or musical scores in flimsy weepy loving musicals, and then eventually become one, and over that, expect to get away with it?

    Well, for all you know about a popular-blogger who overnight is hired as GQs art-director (does that happen?), and is provided with an enormously fancy New York apartment, Friends with Benefits would have proved to be strictly unbeneficial had it not been for the fire-cracking exchange between the immensely good-looking, and capable lead pair.

    If Mila Kuniss Jamie slips out dick jokes, as if shes just casually discussing unusually hot weather in Manhattan, Justin Timberlakes slightly ego-centric Dylans banter makes for a level-headed counter, making the wit, an important criterion for the films sustainability.

    Jamies a job-recruiter with a high profile firm, and Dylans the one whos landed with one, and is paranoid to leave easy-going LA for a crowded and loud New York. So, hotshot head-hunter decides to lure a fixated Dylan to the skyscraper city, taking him to un-touristy locales. (Flash-mob dance at Times Square, really?) Now if its the loyalty towards her job, for the commission, or if shes fallen flat for the cutesy looking Dylan why such aggressive convincing isnt to be paid much attention at.
    Later, as they both get fairly close to one another, a mutual agreement is reached wherein thered be abstinence from any unwanted emotional tangle, and the relationship would be only for physical concerns.

    Strictly sexual, nothing personal.

    Predicatbly it turns out, Harry Burns was making a lot of sense, back in the 80s.

    As mentioned before, the unsurprising plot succumbs to the same weepy-mushy films, it so boldly satires. Although, it is difficult to imagine an Annie Hall sort of resolution, or for that matter a 500 Days of Summer-type, the one this one chooses entirely invalidates any other alternative, which the film stresses on hard in its beginning.

    The writing is its BIG saviour, which sounds not only conversationally plausible, but at times one that dwells a little more seriously on real-life relationships, at least more seriously than the film.
    There are a number of supporting characters, who are conjured, mainly to solve the roadblocks are protagonists will be baffled at. So, a Woody Harrelsan who constantly assures us of his homosexuality plays cool Sports Editor, who at the perfect occasion enlightens Dylan on puzzling matters of the heart. The great Richard Herkins, timely lands at New York from LA, to advice his son about the short length of life. Both Kunis and Timberlake are shown to have dysfunctional families, so as to establish their own emotional turbulence.

    Such convenient ploys steal away from Friends with Benefits the vastness it couldve comfortably explored. Nonetheless, even in its limited, unexciting approach, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake convincingly fake a thoroughly aspirational bond (at break-neck pace). The comedic splashes add reasonable amount of coolness. And youve a movie to watch on Friday night and almost forget on Saturday.

    Heck, somebody give us a Friends with Benefits, which goes beyond the ultimate-passionate-embrace, that too, to the tunes of Soul Sister.

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