Friends With Benefits is a light hearted, witty happenstance that comically focuses on the coping mechanisms that two heart broken people take on the path to true love. The film is the third romantic comedy to showcase a modern trend in society. The movie stars Justin Timberlake (Bad Teacher), Mila Kunis (Black Swan), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), Patricia Clarkson (Easy A), Richard Jenkins (Let Me In), and Jenna Elfman (Love Hurts). It also features cameos by Emma Stone (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Andy Samberg (I Love You, Man), Jason Segel (Bad Teacher), and Bryan Greenberg (Bride Wars).
Friends With Benefits is a humorous, clever undertaking that is a showcase for the story of two people who make an emotional connection that is marred by the hurt and disappointment of prior relationships. The film is a universally appealing mockery of the romantic comedy genre. It jokingly embellishes on the clichés and perceptions that other romantic comedies have created in society. The genre usually appeals more to the female dynamic of the relationship, however, this film finds a good balance of enjoyment for both sexes as it offers as many clever witticisms for men as it does for women.
The film’s light hearted nature masks the depth of the movie. It also increases the appeal of the film ten fold. It is stockpiled with a number of clever jokes and whimsical situations that every one has experienced at one time or another. In addition, the comedy within the montage of sexual encounters between the two of them was terrific. It was some of the best scenes in the movie.
Mila Kunis steals the show as Jamie. Kunis’ wit, energy, and charisma immediately grabs a hold of the audience and charms her way into your heart. Kunis quickly establishes her character as well as setting the tone of the film. She delivers a great performance that drives the film. Justin Timberlake better establishes himself as an actor in his role as Dylan. In his prior films, he piggy backed off of the other actors that were in the film. In this film however, he is still outshined by Kunis but he is clearly becoming a better actor with each film. Timberlake had a number of entertaining moments that increases the level of respect for his acting ability. Two treats of the film are Woody Harrelson (Tommy, Dylan’s gay friend) and Patricia Clarkson (Lorna, Jamie’s mother) in their respective supporting roles. Each of them added plenty of humor within each of their scens. Both had some comedic dialogue that spurns a humorous reaction from the audience. Patricia Clarkson’s references throughout the film about the lack of knowledge of who Jamie’s father was a funny touch. Friends with Benefits also has a number of enjoyable cameos by Emma Stone, Andy Samberg, Jason Segel, and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Friends With Benefits is the third film in less than a year to use this topic as the premise for a romantic comedy. The other two films are Love and Other Drugs and No Strings Attached. What distinguishes this film from the other two is the light hearted nature and more comedic approach that this film implements. Friends With Benefits doesn’t have the depth of Love and Other Drugs or the stirring emotional story of No Strings Attached but Friends With Benefits is clearly the more fun of the three. While it will draw the most comparison to No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits’ more jocular, comedic perspective makes it a different kind of film. A good watch that is entertaining throughout.