‘Friends With Benefits’ DVD Review
A review by G-FUNK
Director: Will Gluck
Cast: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake
Plot: Dylan and Jamie meet when she headhunts him for a job in New York and they click as friends. When coping with relationship problems they decide to become friends with benefits, agreeing not to let it get in the way of their friendship.
Review: Every student of cinema holds a similar philosophy when it comes to selecting their viewing – every movie, no matter how good or bad, can teach you something. Everything should be given at least one viewing, regardless of style or genre in order to broaden your viewing experiences and understanding of cinema as a whole. Having said that, I fucking had rom-coms and avoid them like the plague. There is no other genre that is so formulaic, so shallow and so trite. The only difference between between the films are needless gimmicks. Now with the trend set by Love Actually and recently followed by New Years Eve they’ve become even more pointless. I know there are a few expectations, like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but as the whole the genre can get lost.
Anyway – I watched Friends With Benefits. I’m not sure why, but I did. And I didn’t hate it. Not that it didn’t follow the rom-com formula, but the basic elements aren’t as unlikeable as usual.
Every rom-com hinges on the relationship and the chemistry between the lead characters. Hugh Grant, for example, is unliked by everyone and therefore doesn’t ever have good chemistry with his on-screen partners. Even when you pair him up with someone equally distasteful like Julia Roberts it fails horribly. Not only do the actors need to be likeable, but they need to work well together. I recall one instance at an MTV awards when Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson comment that they start filming a rom-com together the following Monday and are meeting for the first time (what was that film called? Oh right, no-one remembers). Timberlake and Kunis are both charismatic and their friendship feels completely natural, making this one of the strongest aspects of the film.
They seem to be trying to convince themselves and everyone watching that they’re just a goofy pair of normal folks. They do play up the dorkiness pretty well, but it’s hard to completely buy into when they both look as though they were genetically engineered to be celebrities. Sorry, but suspension of disbelief doesn’t extend to a loser starting off the movie telling Mila Kunis that she’s unattractive. They also really over-play a gag where someone acts like an immense dork/crazy stalker only to say “gotcha”. Seriously, like four times in the first half hour.
So the leads are likeable, and the supporting cast fill out the rest of the roles pretty well. The humour mostly hits the mark and although it is longer than it needs to be it is decently paced. It’s packed with cameos, about half of which work, giving the movie the tone of a bunch of mates getting together which isn’t a terrible thing for a light-hearted movie such as this. It tries to escape the cliches of the genre by constantly referencing them before doing them, which seems a bit redundant. We’re all clued in to these conventions, we don’t need you to point them out to us.
Ultimately the movie is enjoyable if you’re not looking to be challenged on any level whatsoever. I would give this a solid SEVEN outta TEN, but just before I turned from the TV to the computer to write the review, something happened. The end credits. These are, without a doubt, the WORST credit roll that has ever been committed to film. It’s not funny, it’s not clever, it’s not even well applied. It looks and feel awkward, is stupid and annoying and is beyond pointless. How hard is it to screw up credits? Pick a font, white text over black screen. Done. Instead you did this, and you become the first movie I have EVER deducted a point from for having crap end credits. You have no-one to blame but yourself.
Score: SIX outta TEN