Sexy enjoyable romantic comedy

No Strings Attached Paramount Rating: 14A 106 minutes

It’s a pleasure to see Natalie Portman lighten up in a pleasant and predictable romantic comedy after watching her go crazy in Black Swan.

In No Strings Attached she plays an intern trying to avoid falling in love with a nice young man played by Ashton Kutcher.

This is a rom-com so the end is preordained, but getting there is pleasant and enjoyable, mostly because of Portman and Kutcher.

Their characters first meet briefly as kids at camp, then again when they are grown-up and before too long become sex buddies. They both want a sex partner available on demand, but no serious commitment; of course they fall in love. Meanwhile they are having movie sex at every opportunity, in hospital closets, etc.

Portman shows again that she is a fine actress. Kutcher has a kind of goofy likability in this outing, and his many fans will be happy to know they get to see a close-up of his bare butt when he awakens nude on a stranger’s couch after a night of heavy drinking.

There are many laughs, although they are sometimes cruel or unbelievable, as when Portman invites Kutcher, to a family “thing” that turns out to be her father’s funeral and he shows up in sweatshirt.

So much depends on the leads and they carry the movie. A side plot with Kevin Kline as Kutcher’s father doesn’t always work, but a slumming Kline is fun to watch.

Rating: three deer out of five

Next Week on Video

Life as We Know It stars Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel in another variation of a romantic comedy.

Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.

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