Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Friends With Benefits Review (I'm Back!)



Hello kids! I know that it's been a VERY long time since I've posted something, to which I can sincerely apologise, it's hard trying to maintain a nice fancy blog whilst studying! BUT as my first academic year at university ends, I have promised myself to spend more time blogging about films, music and the general goings on in my life. So, why not start with a nice film review on something that I've never seen before? "Sounds great!" I hear you say? Fantastic! Thus follows my review of the 2011 film, 'Friends With Benefits'.

At first glance, I will admit I was fairly sceptical toward the film. The amount of samey so-so rom coms trying to deal with the notion of two young adults trying to base a relationship purely on sex has been done to death by the film industry; it's lazy and quite frankly predictable. Therefore I ask you and I ask myself, why should this be film be any different?
Firstly: the casting. Both Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are fantastically cast as Jamie and Dylan, two adults who meet through Jamie's job, become the best of friends and (yep, you guessed it!) try to have a no-emotions-attached sexual arrangement. The humour of both Kunis and Timberlake is enough to carry the film altogether without becoming crude or farcical, with fast quips and wit so sharp you could cut your tongue but most importantly, they are believable. You'd assume that they'd been friends for lord knows how many years and the, shall we say, intimate scenes are electrifying as well as downright hilarious. The chemistry between Kunis and Timberlake never seems forced or artificial, it's genuine and like I said before, electrifying.


To me, the early signs of the film indicated that it was going to be a film about film clich├ęs, such as the dialogue exchange regarding the ending of typical romantic comedies (which includes a very funny cameo from Jason Segel in his best romantic sap set-up) and the conventions of modern day relationships ending (which sets up the opening of the film). This immediately caught my interest as I thought Will Gluck (Director) would be doing something different and subversive with the romantic-comedy genre. In some ways he does, others he doesn't. The convention poking is done brilliantly at the start of the film but is never really expanded on, and like any other romantic comedy dealing with the same topic, it falls down the same predictable route of the characters uncovering true feelings for one another. Kudos for Gluck for trying something new and trying to tackle the topic in a different light, but by the end credits I thought to myself that the film had become what Gluck was originally poking fun at. Is this just me or...? Maybe I just overthink too much! Having said that, the sub-plot of Dylan's father having early Alzheimer's worked brilliantly, it never felt like Gluck was trying to force it in our faces, to deliberately make us sad etc. It was done in a very subtle way that gave the film a nice touch of emotion which not only broke up the comedy aspect but it also gave a fundamental aspect into the film's ending. Also a flash mob helped but you have to watch the film yourself for that!

'Friends With Benefits' is not ground-breaking stuff and although a promising start, doesn't offer anything new to the predictable plot, but the chemistry and humour of both leads is enough to give the film a worthy watch.

8/10