Preview review: Girls just wanna have fun in 'Friends With Benefits' and 'No Strings Attached.' Or do they?
At least that's the message that comes through loud and clear in new trailers for two of Hollywood's latest romantic comedies, "No Strings Attached" and "Friends With Benefits" — despite titles and an implicit promise suggesting the contrary. (Incidentally, "No Strings Attached" was also previously titled "Friends With Benefits.")
In "No Strings Attached," two friends (played by Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman) end up sleeping with each another after a years-long friendship. In keeping with the unwritten rules of romantic comedies, Portman's character is a workaholic doctor who doesn't have time for a relationship.
"I'm a doctor. I work 80 hours a week. I need someone who's gonna be in my bed at 2 a.m. who I don't have to eat breakfast with," she tells him. Later she suggests that some "ground rules" be established so that things don't get too serious: "No lying, no jealousy, don't list me as your emergency contact. I won't come."
But lo and behold, when Kutcher wants to get serious, she seems, at least judging by the trailer, to change her tune.
Meanwhile, in "Friends With Benefits," two friends (played by Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, who, incidentally, stars opposite Portman in the upcoming "Black Swan") also decide to have sex after a years-long platonic relationship.
"It's just sex," Timberlake's character explains to a friend, played by Woody Harrelson. "That never works," Harrelson's character advises. Kunis too winds up embracing a relationship.
Real-life relationships are complicated, but in these movies, it seems, one rule applies: If a man wants to get serious, the woman is suddenly ready to get serious too.
We're seeing these types of stories more lately: A similar dynamic emerges between Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal's characters in Ed Zwick's November release, "Love and Other Drugs." But is Hollywood picking up a real relationship dynamic or just harping on the same old stereotype?
Check out the new trailers and let us know what you think.
— Amy Kaufman
Photo: Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher star in "No Strings Attached." Credit: Paramount.
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