No Strings Attached could have been a good movie.
If it had focused on all of its strong points.
What are those points, you may ask? Let us begin with Natalie Portman. Again, she gives us a great performance. Strong, believable and pretty funny. The problem is that Natalie has little to work with–since the writer (Elizabeth Meriwether) and the director (Ivan Reitman) decided to make her bit more neurotic and quite frankly, stupid than she should have been. No matter how independent, career-centric, and emotionally detached you are–one is smart enough to see a good thing when you see/feel it! (I know I did!) There was never an explanation of why Portman’s Emma is such a commitment-phob and after a while I was not believing it. C’mon! You like him! DUH!
Another missed opportunity was with the supporting female cast. Greta Gerwig (who was wonderful and unnoticed in Greenberg), Lake Bell, Olivia Thirlby and Mindy Kaling (Kelly from The Office) were all underused. It could have been interesting to see how different woman with the same goals handled relationships and casual sex.
Kevin Kline. You were able to cast him in your movie and then you do nothing with him. Poor choice. Again, it could have been interesting.
Now, for the weaknesses.
First and foremost, Ashton Kutcher. Poor Ashton. He is very one note to me. Every movie I have seen with him has been the same performance, only its mega watt or low watt–this one was low, since he was basically playing the forlorn puppy. Not horrible, just flat.
The male supporting cast. Jake Johnson and Ludacris. Wasn’t feeling it. Not funny. Sorry.
The plot. Okay. I was lead to believe this was about “best friends” becoming “fuck buddies” (once the original title). Nope. They barely know each other, which makes me long for the movie I was expecting–a real look at that scenario–not a one day stand that turned into a lot of casual sex. Sigh! Oh, well–maybe Friends with Benefits (being released in the summer) will truly explore the topic. (I think it looks pretty funny!)
So, go ahead and check it out if you know what you are getting into–a mediocre romantic comedy.
I hope all is well on your side of the world!