Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Movie Reviewed - No Strings Attached

You might be shocked to find out that No Strings Attached is one of only three movies I've seen in the theater this year (the others being Super 8 and the final Harry Potter movie). Less shocked when I tell you I saw it with a girl. The thing might have been the best of the three (we can get together and talk about how disappointed we were in the final Harry Potter movie some other time).

The movie stars Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, and the premise is simple enough to ascertain: they want to bang, no strings attached. Or at least, things start that way. It wouldn't be a movie if it worked out, so obviously someone starts getting, well, attached. Then there's romance and sweet moments and humor. I mean, it's a romantic comedy, you basically know what it is before you start watching it.

Part of what made this movie really good was that I didn't have any sort of expectations of it being anything spectacular, precisely because it was a romantic comedy. But Portman and Kutcher are equal parts adorable and hilarious, and the supporting cast is phenomenal. I'd cite specific examples, but to mention everyone who contributes positively would take several more pages than I'm comfortable writing in a single blog. Suffice it to say, all of the ancillary characters serve their purposes beautifully, from comedy to companionship to the necessary frustrations of any film romance.

The one thing that detracts a little bit is that Kutcher doesn't do a great job of convincing the audience that he's weighed down with his emotions. He's romantic, but mostly just in a casual, friendly, funny kind of way. I don't ever feel like he's losing himself in the romance; he's just a willing participant. So when the story has its more poignant moments, they're carried by Portman's character, which isn't a bad thing (more screen time for her is always good), but makes you care a little less about whether or not they get together at the end of the movie.

Kutcher's lack of depth aside, though, this is a very, very funny movie. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes romantic comedies, or anyone who likes comedies and can at least stomach some romance. I haven't seen Friends With Benefits yet (like I said, three movies in the theater), but my exceptionally positive experience with No Strings Attached has me thinking I'd better find a way to watch it.

The Last Word: Funny, funny, funny. Oh, and Natalie Portman looks GOOD.

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