A romantic comedy that mocks rom-coms

Friends with Benefits Columbia Rating: 14A 109 minutes

Friends with Benefits is a cruder, faster, sexier version of the film we already watched in February called No Strings Attached with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.

This time the friends are Mila Kunis, who plays a corporate head hunter, and Justin Timberlake, who plays an art director. She recruits him from Los Angeles for a New York job and they become friends. Both unattached and not wanting any emotional involvement they decide they can have frequent sex without any complications.

Of course, there is that usual complication about falling in love and then we are more or less into the normal cliches and resolutions (breaking up, getting back together, etc.) of romantic comedies.

It starts well and has some fun by mocking rom-coms, but you never doubt what the ending will be. However, be warned, the sex is more explicit than most films of this genre and the movie was given a ‘restricted’ rating in the United States.

There’s an entertaining supporting cast with Patricia Clarkson as Kunis’s 60s-era mother (“I’m hungry, do you have any gin?”), Jena Elfman as Timberlake’s sister, Richard Jenkins as his Alzheimer’s-suffering dad and Woody Harrelson as a crude, gay sportswriter who gets most of the best lines.

This is a pleasant, painless, mostly enjoyable film; the two mob/crowd singing scenes are a nice touch. The dialogue is snappy and it zips along like an easy-to-take summer popcorn movie, but probably is not a good one for a first date.

Rating: three deer out of five

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