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Friends With Benefits

Year: 2010
Production Co: Screen Gems
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Will Gluck/Keith Merryman/David A Newman/Harley Peyton
Cast: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins, Patricia Clarkson, Woody Harrelson, Catherine Reitman

I heard this film described as vacuous fluff with attractive people being attractive, and while that's a fair description I felt it had enough honesty and edge to stand out against the mire of the other sexy/romantic comedies we're used to.

For one thing, it took a genuine – if polished – look at sex we almost never see in movies. Instead of it being beautiful, dead serious or perfectly framed, Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) chat, direct and coach in how to pleasure each other, poke fun at each other and the sex is portrayed as a slightly ridiculous activity that's about having a good time – what it should be in real life instead of us all trying to emulate the beautiful sexual scenery Hollywood expounds.

And like the new generation of romantic comedy it takes a more liberated stance. I won't call it 'masculine', but it has a more playful, profane and slapstick mood.

Jamie is a corporate headhunter who brings LA boy Dylan to her native New York to place him as an art director at GQ magazine (so not too much product placement). The two hit it off and then come up with the idea of becoming fuck buddies. The question is, can anyone two people just sleep together and stay friends. As the same criticism mentioned above went on to say, it's the opposite proposition of When Harry Met Sally (can a man and a woman be friends and it not turn sexual?)

Of course you can see what's going to happen before you even sit down – the film wears the glaringly obvious resolution on its sleeve during the trailer – but that doesn't make it any less of a pleasure to watch. Timberlake is much more comfortable here than as the action-oriented leading man he was in In Time, and he and the eternally cute Kunis share a real spark that makes the film easy to invest in.

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