Sports and movies; two genres that eliminate elitism. Regardless of gender, race, education, all are equals rooting for our favorite team, actor; every man’s /woman’s opinion is fraught with legitimacy, viability and intrinsically correct.
That being said many of you found “Friends With Benefits” distasteful, stupid and trite; while others rained shimmering praise on the film. With respect for both sides I reluctantly ventured into the twenty-first century of non- commitment, where couples dish up, with all the trimmings, the sensual delicacies of their bodies; they boldly navigate, instruct, architect their pleasures; not puritanical but very pedestrian; physically, gratifyingly satiated; their minds and hearts stunted, frozen, excised from the exercise.
The principals are visually dazzling and placidly likeable. Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) meet in New York where she has orchestrated a major career move for his vague, undefined, advertising – computer skills. They become “buddies’, eventually lapsing into convenient, consensual ( non-dating) sexual teammates. They describe themselves as “damaged” a fact I heartily concur with; also obviously, predictably, predestined soul- mates.
The few really entertaining moments are provided by delightful cameo performances: Woody Harrelson, as a gay sports editor is hilarious and commands and controls his every scene-stealing second; Patricia Clarkson, as Jamie’s wacky, free- spirited mother gives another refined, vintage portrayal defining her diversified career; Richard Jenkins as Dylan’s father is rivetingly sensitive as his character succumbs to the encroaching, iniquitous arms of Alzheimer’s.
In thinking of friends with benefits I conger up “golden parachutes”, second homes, platinum credit cards, no health care concerns, private jets; but alas I found nothing beneficial or meaningful in a relationship that feeds the body, consciously starving the spirit.
“Friends With Benefits” does not flounder at the “No Strings Attached” level; it is a softer, less boring, more intelligent version of how to avoid personal accountability.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!