FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS: DVD
Jamie (Mila Kunis) is a New York head hunter who lures LA-based art director Dylan (JustinTimberlake) to take a job in the Big Apple. Both have had a series of failed relationships and agree to hang out together for sex and for sex alone. No dates, no emotional commitment; just sex. And a promise to remain friends.
Review by Louise Keller:
With its central theme of sex without commitment, this attractive screwball comedy has more going for it than its premise implies. It's playful and funny and its charismatic stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake squeeze charm from the lively script that explores every little crevice of a relationship.
In the opening scenes we meet Jamie (Kunis) and Dylan (Timberlake) breaking up with their respective partners, declaring they both want to shut themselves down emotionally. Making a fresh start is made easy for Dylan when he is offered a dream job as art director for GQ Magazine in New York. Jamie is the head hunter who entices him from LA for the position but she is not your average recruiter. She is always kidding, blinks when she swears and underneath her brash front is a real romantic, wishing life was like a movie. And yes, Pretty Woman is her favourite - movie, that is. Dylan is equally complex, running away from emotionally confronting issues, looking for open spaces, wears socks in bed and sneezes at critical moments.
When they meet (at the airport), she is fumbling barefoot on the baggage carousel, trying to find Dylan's name card which she has inadvertently dropped. To earn her commission, her new client needs to stay in the job for 12 months, so it is in her interests to show him around and introduce him to a few people. After a night on the town, the conversation turns to sex, which they both agree is necessary but preferable without strings - a bit like playing tennis and shaking hands. They seal the deal placing their hands on a techno bible-ap. Funny idea. The sex scenes are funny rather than sensual, honestly declaring their likes and dislikes as they begin their experimentation in the bedroom.
There are some nice ideas and upbeat moments like the flash mob scene and the running gag about songs and music in film to create mood. Patricia Clarkson as Jamie's man-hungry mother is a bonus as is Richard Jenkins as Dylan's Altzheimers striken dad with a penchant to take off his trousers in his less cogent moments. Jenna Elfman is also a welcome presence as Dylan's perceptive sister and Woody Harrelson is a hoot as the blatantly gay sports editor. There are also cameos from Emma Stone, Shaun White and Jason Segel, who plays an actor in rom com that plays repeatedly on television.
It's no surprise that Jamie and Dylan discover that there is more to their relationship than sex, but the journey is an engaging one with a few surprises along the way. Most enjoyable is our encounter with Kunis and Timberlake, whose compelling presence and sense of zaniness allows the film's gearshift to go up a notch. New York looks great, too.
DVD special features include deleted scenes, outtakes, comentary with Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis and writer/director Will Gluck
Published December 16, 2011
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FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS: DVD (MA15+)
CAST: Justin Timberlake, Milan Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Bryan Greenberg, Richard Jenkins, Woody Harrelson, Nolan Gould
PRODUCER: Will Gluck, Liz Glotzer, Martin Shafer, Janet Zucker, Jerry Zucker
DIRECTOR: Will Gluck
SCRIPT: Will Gluck, Keith Merryman, David A. Newman
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Grady
EDITOR: Tia Nolan
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marcia Hinds
RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 18, 2011
SPECIAL FEATURES: DVD special features include deleted scenes, outtakes, comentary with Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis and writer/director Will Gluck
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
DVD RELEASE: December 16, 2011
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.