|January 21, 2011|
Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material
|No Strings Attached
Let’s get this out in the air before I even begin my review for the film “No Strings Attached”. We all should know by now what romantic comedies are for. We bring our dates to them, we go to catch a glimpse at Hollywood love, and we go to experience the lighter side of life. Yes, they normally end the same way, a feel good ending where love conquers all, but if they do not end that way, we feel robbed or cheated. Romantic comedies are not cinematic genius, but they still serve a purpose on a much different cinematic level and for that, they still command our respect.That being said, “No Strings Attached” is an above par romantic comedy with more heart than the trailers can project.
Coming off an Academy Award nomination (soon-to-be win), Natalie Portman proves she is one of the best at what she does, from a suspenseful, immersing role in Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” to the brash and comedic “No Strings Attached”. Unlike Sandra Bullock last year, winning a Razzie for her dreadful performance in “All About Steve”, then winning an Academy Award for her leading role in “The Blind Side”, Natalie Portman will have produced two stellar performances in one year (in the theaters over the same period of time).
Portman plays Emma, a young doctor with an anti-social love life (i.e. does not have time for a relationship). She is unafraid to be completely open with her lifestyle, yet attractively confident in all her choices. Even when she meets Ashton Kutcher’s character, Adam, she takes control of the situation.
(Not sure why the writers decided to make this a generation spanning film where the characters meet each other as kids and continue running into each other. The film would have worked fine without it.)
Emma and Adam start a “no strings attached” relationship (casual sex with no feelings) but as one would expect, the relationship evolves (we can’t say the random dude out walking his dog at night didn’t warn Adam), whether Emma likes it or not. Adam relies on his odd friends, Ludacris and Jake Johnson (who is hilarious by the way) to offer support in his darker hours but ultimately turns to the sex with Emma to get through his rough times (his father, played by Kevin Kline, is sleeping with his ex-girlfriend).
Ashton Kutcher comes off as a more matured version of a handful of his previous characters. I am most reminded of “Just Married” and his goofy demeanor. Combine that performance with his suave new look, most highlighted as of late in the film “Killers” with Katherine Heigl, and we have the new and improved Ashton Kutcher.
Eventually, Adam wants so badly to be with Emma (and who can blame him?) that he ruins the guidelines set up before the initiation of the friends with benefits agreement. From there, the film takes you on a roller coaster of emotions that only romantic comedies can extract from a human being.
“No Strings Attached” is successful. It pulls on just the right strings to get you to fall in love with absolutely every character (minus Adam’s ex-girlfriend). The acting is beyond that of a romantic comedy, which makes this film easy to like, an element that is lost in most rom-coms (“The Bounty Hunter” and “The Back Up Plan” were horrid). The film bounds into the area of inappropriate more than a few times, but for the most part holds just the right amount of laughs. With it only being February, it is safe to say this is the best romantic comedy have seen this year, thus far.