Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Phil sees FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS at the Camera 12 Downtown SJ-July 31, 2011

After a very, very, very, very long week at work, I finally got around to see some movies!

OK, I will admit I wasn't really sure about seeing this film. You see, there's not a lot of original films coming out of Hollywood these days. Case in point, earlier this year saw the release of NO STRINGS ATTACHED, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. In the film both stars portray good friends who start having sex without any emotion connection, then by the end develop feeling for one another and everyone lives happily ever after. Now Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis (who starred with Portman in last year's critically acclaimed film BLACK SWAN) star in FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, which in theory sounds exactly like the previously mentioned film, but in actuality, it's a better, more enjoyable film.

So let me give you fine folks a brief synopsis of the film: New York headhunter Jamie (Kunis) gets dumped by her boyfriend Quincy (Adam Samberg). Over in Los Angeles, California, the same thing is happening to Dylan (Timberlake) and his now psycho ex (Emma Stone). Jamie lures Dylan away from his present job to the bright lights of NY and to the offices of GQ. Both strike up a great friendship, and soon the topic of being friends with benefits comes up. Soon Dylan and Jamie are naked and sexing up all over NY, but soon emotions stat to arise and thing start to become complicated.

Now the film has its good points and its bad points, so let me start with the positives. Believe it or not, both Timberlake and Kunis have amazing chemistry on screen. They both have great lines in the film that you would actually say to your friends. Second, both really get down and dirty in their sex scenes and they are very hot and funny, but let me warn you about a couple of things real quick before you all get too excited. Now you do get to see Timberlake's chiseled physique as well as his bum, HOWEVER, Kunis used a butt double for her nude scene. So that is NOT her butt you're seeing fellas! Sorry to disappoint you guys, however I must say, her butt double really has a very nice butt. So I guess it's a positive still. I don't know, you be the judge.

Now for some negatives. I felt that some of the scenes where a bit too rushed. Also the editing could've been a bit more smoother. Also the most obvious element in the film is this: the film is poking fun at Hollywood cliches. When Jamie and her friend are walking the streets of NY at night, they pass by a series of poster for THE UGLY TRUTH, to which Jamie utters one of my favorite lines, "Shut up Katherine Heigl, you stupid liar!" Jamie complains to Dylan that romantic Hollywood films are filed with the typical cliches that would not happen in real life. Anyone see the irony in this?

The film itself is a cliched Hollywood romance film! There's the hopeless romantic but burned woman, the out of town transplant nice guy with a heart of gold, the psycho exes, crazy parents, friends having sex that eventually leads to romance but neither one wants to admit it, etc. But you know what? It works. This whole cliched Hollywood romantic comedy works, and it works well. I actually was rooting for Jamie and Dylan. Go figure but thanks to director Will Gluck (EASY A) the film has the perfect balance of love and laughter, with just a pinch of drama to keep it interesting.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is a fun, sexy, raunchy, romantic comedy that actually delivers the goods and then some. Both Kunis and Timberlake are this summer's best couple to watch, laugh, and fall in love with. Sounds kinda cliched, huh? Well what did you expect from Hollywood?

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS is now playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the South Bay. To view showtimes, visit their website at http://www.cameracinemas.com/index.shtml

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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