I’ve had the unfortunate misfortune to see some particularly bad movies released in 2011. Chief among them was No Strings Attached, a “romantic” “comedy” about friends who hook up for casual sex without emotional attachment. That Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher led film was particularly challenging to finish, with its cliché dialogue, discernable lack of chemistry between the leads and well-worn plot. I wondered whether it was conceivable for it to be outdone. Alas, it has been, with the exact same themed film – the putrid Friends With Benefits.
Friends With Benefits features stilted writing, with words spoken in a form that nobody could ever conceivably imagine people saying in a conversation. It also features two leads that despite the appearance of likability, share no spark. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake ramble through the movie as if they’ve never acted before. They recite words without any connection or believability. To make matters worse, additional actors, such as the usually strong Woody Harrelson as an over the top gay dude, Patricia Clarkson as an absentee mother and the talented Richard Jenkins as an Alzheimer’s inflicted father, all stumble through the awkwardness. There is cashing a paycheck and coasting through scenes – and then there is what is witnessed here. Neither is good.
There is nothing redeeming in this movie, save for a few cool shots of New York City at night. When the all too predictable flash mob ending with Timberlake looking like he is giving a horrible audition (I know because I’ve been there) comes, I had already rolled over in my grave several times. When I leave this Earth, I will wish that I had the two hours of my life back that I spent watching this drivel. Add in the aforementioned “No Strings” and I am really going to wish I could have extended my time in my own skin when I pass. The only benefit I can give you – my friends – after seeing this tripe, is to advise you never to witness it with your own eyes and ears. You’ll thank me before you die. This is my first “EMPTY NEST” rating here on the site, which equals ZERO stars for the laymen.