Friends with Benefits
Directed By: Will Gluck
Written By: Keith Merryman, David Newman, and Will Gluck, from a story by Keith Marryman, Harley Peyton, and David Newman
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins, Woody Harrelson, Nolan Gould, Jenna Ellfman, Andy Samberg, and Emma Stone.
Director of Photography: Michael Grady, Editor: Tia Nolan, Production Designer: Marcia Hinds
Rated: R for all the perks that come with having benefits
Friends with Benefits is a new romantic comedy that tries to be the Scream of the genre—a self-aware film that wants to both poke fun at, as well as indulge in the tropes of the genre. One of the best moments comes with the film’s stars—the attractive and fun Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis—watch a cheesy romantic comedy starring Jason Segel and Rashida Jones. They point out everything the film fails at—the terrible music, the masking of Los Angeles to look like New York, and the hordes of clichéd lines—but Ms. Kunis can’t help but mouth every word. Everyone wants that storybook ending in the end.
And thus the film, directed by Easy A helmer Will Gluck, attempts to have its cake and eat it too. It starts with a simple enough twist of a premise about two emotionally damaged people who try to remove any emotion from what happens in the bedroom, and then balloons exactly as you would expect. This is of course the same premise of No Strings Attached, which came out earlier this year. But Mr. Gluck, Mr. Timberlake, and Ms. Kunis have more genuine fun with the premise, and while the script seems rushed and in need of some polishing, it’s a frankly enjoyable romantic comedy, a rarity these days.