It's fair to say that Ivan Reitman has somewhat fallen from grace. Outside of producing a few hits like Up in the Air and Old School, and who knows how much of an imprint he made in that role, Reitman hasn't directed anything of note since his 1993 semi-hit Dave. Perhaps reuniting with Kevin Kline, as he does in his latest film No Strings Attached, could help restore Reitman to the same glory he once had in the 80's and early 90's.
Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher) have a history. Ever since they were teenagers together at a camp, the pair has had an almost cosmic connection. Randomly crossing paths from time to time, their chemistry immediately seems obvious. When they both reach exhausting times in their lives, a drunk text leads them together again. One passionate evening leads to an ongoing friends with benefits scenario for the destined pair. Can such a situation really work? And if it can't, will it end well?
No Strings Attached tries too hard to dissect this ironic lust to love predicament. The first 45 minutes are undeniably filled with vulgar, yet laugh out loud humor. However, after the film's initial comedic punch, it begins to take a nose dive with its unconvincing emotional storyline. Portman and Kutcher are both proven actors with plenty of successful romantic-comedy experience, yet even these two stars can't help mask the poor script and prolonged ending. Not only is the writing bad, but Reitman forces multiple flat storylines to go alongside Emma and Adam's strange relationship.
No Strings Attached would have been better off sticking to the comedy and laying off of the cliche dialogue and pseudo-iconic tone. There was a ray of hope with its side characters Eli (Jake Johnson) and Patrice (Greta Gerwig), but ultimately Reitman disregarded their contribution and returned to the same, overdone boy meets girl story that we're use to. It felt like a bad 80's chick-flick. Unless you're absolutely forced to see it by your significant other, I recommend trying to avoid this sub par romantic comedy.