Friends with Benefits (2011)

Jamie (Mila Kunis) and Dylan (Justin Timberlake) are two annoyingly attractive successful embryos, who make a pact to have no strings attached sex till they meet their soul mates or die. Whichever comes first. Unfortunately, it’s not death.

Friends with Benefits is like a companion piece to Love and Other Disasters, in that both are horrendous examples of knowing genre comedy. The first warning sign comes when Timberlake deconstructs a fictional rom-com (which, starring Jason Segal, is actually lot more entertaining). Pointing out the various cliches, we the audience are invited to chortle along and agree that yes, Justin, that film is really stupid. We are the clever ones for watching this modern celluloid masterpiece instead. Except…

Except Friends with Benefits just doesn’t live up to Timberlake’s ideals. Within 10 minutes of Kunis and Timberlake doing the front bum tango, the film falls into the same saccharine territory which many of it’s bastard offspring has trodden before. Kunis has abandonment issues due to an absent mother. Meanwhile, Timberlake’s sister is Dharma from Dharma and Greg. Oh yeah, and his dad suffers from Alzheimer’s. Hollywood Alzheimer’s, that is. The type where you mention a loved one’s name staring off into the distance, whilst everyone looks embarrassed. The revelation of Timberlake’s parental mentel state is such a stark contrast to the rest of the film’s tone, it muddies the whole thing and you feel guiltier for watching then you did before. At least Kunis’s mum can’t remember who her dad is because she’s slept around so much. Haha, sluts are funny right? But it’s okay because the J-man’s dad also takes his trousers off in restaurants. Thats funny, right? See, proposed reduced synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine can be fun!

Oh who cares… Friends with Benefits is a horrible, cynical film with fart jokes, unlikable characters and a misguided attempt to look at ‘real issues’. The ending, when it arrives like rain in the desert, is true rom-com logic with the word ‘fuck’ thrown in, but because everyone is so busy winking at the camera and slapping each other on the back, they don’t seem to notice or care. With frends like these, who needs enemies. Avoid.



  1. Although it is miles better than the woefully try-hard No Strings Attached. One of Natalie Portman’s first lines is “Hey, I remember you! You tried to finger me!”

    1. Oh yes. There’s also a sequence when Ashton and Natalia can’t get freaky cos she’s on her period. He comes round to her house anyway to spend time with her. He brings her a mix CD. A “Period CD.” The first song is Leona Lewis’ ‘Bleeding Love.’ Natalie finds this hilarious…

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