Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A few years back I saw this movie ĎThe Lovely Bonesí, and chances are youíve seen it to, but ĎThe Lovely Bonesí was hands down the most miserable experience Iíve ever had sitting in a movie theater. I didnít say it was a bad movie, but it was a miserable movie, to the point where I couldnít even sleep right due to visions of Stanley Tucci murdering little girls. I mention this because I had a similar experience while watching this romantic comedy ĎFriends With Benefitsí. No, this was not a miserable movie watching experience, but I still had trouble sleeping because of Kriss Kross and that damn song ĎJumpíÖ oh that infernal songÖ would not f**king leave my head. And itís still there. I had the twelve inch, right? So itís not like I hated it, but apparently my psyche wasnít ready to hear that song ever again. Thanks for that people that made ĎFriends With Benefitsí.

Dylan (Justin Timerberlake), a graphic designer who lives in Los Angeles, is emotionally vacant. Jamie (Mila Kunis), a head hunter who lives in New York, is emotionally damaged. As it so happens the head hunter has just recruited the graphic designer to get him this plum gig at GQ Magazine and after showing Dylan the real New York, and observing that Jamie is an awful lot of fun to hang around, Dylan takes the job.

Since Jamie is the only person Dylan knows in New York, they hang out a lot. Itís not a sexual thing however because they donít see each other that way, that is until a fateful night of romantic comedy watching and complaining about how crappy their relationships have been. Jamie bent over to clean up some beer bottles and Dylan was liking what he was seeing. Youíre guess is as good as mine as to what Dylan saw when Jamie bent over, considering Jamie might weigh eight pounds, but he was liking it. So Dylan makes Jamie a proposition, sex without the complications. Buddies getting down. Like a one on one basketball game. Homies just doing that thing.

So Dylan and Jamie get down to the serious business of having uncomplicated sex, and since thereís no complications they can be open and honest with each other about

everything, which people in real relationships can never do. Itís awesome. Dylanís friend Tommy (Woody Harrelson), the testosterone filled, hyper obnoxious sports editor at GQ informs the young man that this would never work, but it looks like itís working out okay to me. Tommy, for your information, puts a twist on the whole hyper, sexually inappropriate sex talk guy since heís gay and all. So when a guy exclaims Ďthatís more pipe for meí, upon hearing youíre not gay, thatís what you get with Tommy.

But there are complications, mostly external. Jamieís mother Lorna (Patricia Clarkson) is a wayward soul who floats in and out of her daughterís life and the one that bears a lot of responsibility for her daughterís emotional issues. Dylan is trying to deal with his beloved fatherís (Richard Jenkins) Alzheimerís disease, and doing a bad job of dealing with it. Richard Jenkins, a fine actor if ever there was one, is making quite the career for himself playing dying old guys. This is like the eighth movie or TV show Iíve seen him in where he is either dead or dying. Good work if you can get it.

Regardless, these friends with benefits grow closer and closer, everybody knows they belong together but then they screw it all up as the audienceÖ thatís usÖ hopes and prays that these attractive young people get it all together and find true love before the credits roll. I donít want it spoil it for you butÖ

I was disappointed with ĎFriends with Benefitsí, and Iíll tell you why. Since Iím not fond or the Romantic Comedy genre, I was kind of led to believe that this was a romantic comedy that was going to turn the genre upside down a little bit. When Emma Stone makes her cameo appearance as Dylanís ex and suggests that he Ďshit on her faceí instead of making her miss the opening of a John Mayer concert, Iím thinking we may have some potential here. Miss Stone also has an abnormally large pair of eyes, just like Mila Kunis does, though Emma doesnít look like she skipping out on many meals where as I doubt that Mila actually eats. Back on point, this movie was actually making fun of the Romantic Comedy, jabbing at it, mocking it, so Iím thinking we might have a Romantic Comedy I can work with.

Thus we have my disappointment as ĎFriends with Benefitsí makes fun of Romantic Comedies while being a Romantic Comedy down to its very core. Thatís disingenuous my friends. Now all that being said, if you like RomComs, then I would imagine you will like this one as well. Itís funny on occasion, a lot funnier early in the movie than later in the movie, and Woody was almost always funny in this movie. JT and Mila have charm to burn and they look great together, it was sweet, Justin and Mila engage in a lot fake sex in this movie if you like watching small people have fake sex, it was kinda raunchy at times and it even had a clever moment or two hidden in the sweetness of this rote RomCom tale it was telling.

But I was just kind of hoping that somewhere along the line it would make a left turn instead of charging ahead blindly towards its predictable RomCom goal. They are not to blame for this and I take full responsibility for my incorrect expectations. One day thoughÖ one day.

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