Saturday, February 12, 2011
No Strings Attached
Just in time for your Valentine’s Day viewing pleasure, my review of the new rom-com No Strings Attached.
At the film’s beginning, the lead characters, Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emmaa (Natalie Portman), intersect at pivotal moments -- summer camp, college, and as young professionals. Although Kutcher and Portman “click” they never take it to the next level, but pass like ships in the night. When Kutcher’s longtime girlfriend dumps him in favor of his Hollywood actor-father (played by an over-the-top Kevin Kline), a very drunken Kutcher calls every number in his smartphone looking for a bit of female comfort. He reaches Portman who takes pity and allows him to crash on her sofa for the night. Once again sparks fly between the pair, but this time they give into them. Portman, however, doesn’t want a serious relationship, so they become “friends with benefits.” Kutcher is fine with this for awhile, but eventually wants more. A lot of drama follows while Portman decides if she wants more too.
I found Kutcher and Portman to be individually appealing and attractive, but together lacked chemistry. Perhaps, this was due to their height difference (think Abraham Lincoln to Mary Todd Lincoln) or maybe because I never understood why Portman didn’t want a real relationship. At one point Portman’s widowed mother (Talia Balsam – Random factoid: in real life she was once Mrs. George Clooney (and according to Clooney will be the only woman to hold that title)) tells Portman that she doesn’t have to “be strong” for her anymore. But I never really bought this as it had been many years since Portman’s father had died and she didn’t even live in the same town as her mother, so why the need for the stiff upper lip?
Still I loved the supporting cast in No Strings Attached, especially Kline as the aging, but harmless lothario and Portman’s roommate Shira (played by Mindy Kaling). In fact, Kline and Kaling stole every scene they were in -- with laughs or in Kline’s case an occasional tug of the heart strings.
No Strings Attached is a breezy date flick with solid laughs thanks to Kline and Kaling.