So, you've seen No Strings Attached already and you're thinking "why would I see Friends With Benefits, it's the same thing". Truth be told, at the root of the story, the two films are very similar. Boy knows Girl, and they decide to embark on a physical relationship with no emotional ties. But what really makes a movie work, or not work, is how well the story is told. Now, I'll be the first to tell you that I barely found any enjoyment in 2011's first attempt at a romantic comedy centered on a purely physical relationship, however Will Gluck is a very talented director who definitely knows how to add a little flare to a story.
Friends With Benefits follows Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) who are both welcomed to the "single world" almost immediately. Therefore, when Dylan gets offered an interview in New York City to become the Art Director for GQ Magazine, he's quick to accept the invitation. Upon his arrival he's greeted by Jamie, the young woman trying to help him land the job. The interview is a huge success and Dylan's left to decide whether or not to leave his tight knit family in California. Jamie, who has her sights on a big bonus if Dylan accepts the job, offers to take him out on the town to see the "real New York City". Ultimately, Dylan takes the job and begins an interesting friendship with Jamie. But when the duo decide to try out a friends with benefits relationship, they discover they may be in over their heads.
Fresh off of excellent supporting roles in their Oscar nominated films, Kunis and Timberlake team up for a fresh, vibrant one-two punch. Their chemistry on the big screen is unquestionable, and their performances are more than enough for a typical romantic comedy. In addition to its two stars, Woody Harrelson is hysterical as the homosexual Sports Editor for GQ who eagerly befriends Timberlake's character. Furthermore, Director Will Gluck rebounds nicely from his 2011 Golden Globe nominated film Easy A, as he offers another laugh out loud comedy. The film centers around a story that's clearly been done before, but Gluck successfully conjures up an original and fresh perspective to the re-hatched premise. That is undoubtedly the telling sign of a great director.
Despite it's notable strengths, Friends With Benefits is far from perfect. The film's ending has a sustained drag to it. The final 25 minutes contain dilemma after dilemma, and it definitely begins to wear on the audience. Also, the movie loses its strong comedic sense after the first hour and transforms almost solely into a "chick flick". The term "chick flick" often gives a negative connotation, yet Gluck and cast create an inviting feel that keeps the attention of the male viewers as well.
I was mighty skeptical at first, but Friends With Benefits is an enjoyable movie. There are plenty of characteristics to the film that will satisfy both male and female audiences. So if you're deciding on a film with that special someone in your life, then Friends With Benefits represents a worthwhile compromise.