NO STRINGS ATTACHED Movie Review
Here’s what you need to know: NO STRINGS ATTACHED cements itself as a good movie, because it asks a question every girl has likely asked themselves – can sex friends be best friends? As the title suggests, this is the premise for the Ivan Reitman directed romantic comedy, which stars Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher as two friends who re-unite after many years apart and come to ask themselves this same question.
Adam (Kutcher) and Emma (Portman) first meet at summer camp as young kids. 10 years later, no longer kids but working adults (Adam is now an assistant on a tv series and Emma is now a workaholic doctor) they meet at a party and re-discover their long-lost friendship. Eventually, the two move to LA where they settle for being strictly platonic friends, until Adam learns that his father (Kevin Kline) has been seeing his ex-girlfriend. This spurns Emma to propose the idea: why not use one another for sex? With their schedules and past history, neither one of them is looking for a serious relationship and they are, after all, “just friends.”
Adam and Emma’s “dilemma” is primarily what drives No Strings Attached, though there are a host of supporting actors that pop up during the course of the film: Jake Johnson as Adam’s best friend, Olivia Thirlby as Emma’s younger sister, Greta Gerwig and Mindy Kaling as Emma’s sassy roommates, as well as Ludacris, Guy Branum, Abby Elliott and Lake Bell. While it’s fun to see these actors/comedians in their respective roles, their presence in the story seems disjointed and undeveloped as the story’s main focus is on the two leads. Portman and Kutcher have a believable amount of chemistry, which helps the film along and makes it fun to watch, but it is clear that Portman is the real gem in this film. Fresh out of her “Black Swan” attire, she commands the screen with a vibrance that makes you believe she really is a workaholic with emotional attachment issues. Moreso, she makes you believe that she could actually fall for Kutcher’s Adam, who plays the girl’s role of emotionally wearing his heart on his sleeve.
No Strings Attached is a good film. It has potential to be a great film, but its problem is that there is nothing original about the concept or the writing that sets it apart. With smarter writing and a less predictable plot, the movie could very well have been heralded as the next “When Harry Met Sally” – unfortunately, it falls short of such expectations with its dawdling pace and cliche jokes. That’s not to say No Strings Attached isn’t worth seeing, however. It’s fun night out at the movies, and as with most rom-coms, there’s definitely enough fluff for it to be enjoyable. Get to the theatre and bring your popcorn and your girlfriends – you may be surprised at how much you enjoy the film when you take it at face value.