No Strings Attached (2011) and Friends with Benefits (2011) are both released in the same year with the same theme. Boys and girls who are just in sex relationships, and is there such a thing at all? I know in the gay and lesbian universe, this is certainty one of the benefits; however, things are changing, funny, in the other direction. If this is a case, we are experiencing a convergence of sexuality.
Back to our films. I did not like FwB, and did not watch the entire film. It did not convince me in its first 30 minutes! Dylan Harper (Justin Timberlake), a facebook’s Mark Zuckberg type, is a smart webmaster/developer, who lives in LA. He is being head-hunted by NY executive recruiter, Jamie Rellis (Mila Kunis), who I think is more working like a real estate agent: picking up the client, showing him around, having lunch, dinner, bringing the contract over, … Okay, we understand the film takes no time to get to the point that they both have unsatisfying traditional relationships, and want to go against the flow; therefore, just to be sex-buddies. I stopped there first because Jamie and Dylan talked a mile an hour, second maybe I am senile, but just too much going on … like Dylan and Jamie happen to be in a flash-mob in the middle of Time Squares before midnight when the job offer expires on his first day in NY!? (All right, for a job offer at the executive level, this will definitely be done between the company and the recruited, and most likely lawyers will be involved…hence, should not be like a closing on a house!). Anyway, I may give it another try since tomatomater registers 71% for FwB, while NSA only gets 49%, which happens to be the one I like better.
NSA starts out with episodes between Emma Kurtzman (Natalie Portman) and Adam Franklin (Ashton Kutcher) at different stages of their lives: camp, frat party, funeral, farmers’ market. There are some clever dialogues, and Emma and Adam are likable. Adam works under the shadow of his successful Hollywood’s father, Alvin (Kevin Kline), as an assistant for a TV show that resembles Glee (2009- current), and Emma is the intern at a local hospital.
The critical moment comes when Adam finds out his father, Alvin, is hiding and living with his ex-girlfriend, Ophelia Lovibond (Ophelia Lovibond), yes, you guess it, a shallow young pretty girl. After punching out his father, Adam went on a binge with friends, Wallace ( Ludacris) and Eli (Jake M. Johnson), and calls every woman on his cellphone… He woke up naked on a couch in an apartment where Shira (Mindy Kaling) is having breakfast, next comes Guy (Guy Branum),and Patrice (Greta Gerwig), who all declare that they have sex with Adam. While Adam is still being hungover and confused, Emma comes out of her bedroom, and then Adam goes back to her room to collect his stuff and that’s when the deal starts.
Things are fine for a while and the film progresses naturally to ask if this is at all possible as a new paradigm for straights. I guess you will find out.
I like NSA better, because there are really funny dialogues throughout, and Natalie Portman is surely out of her usual dramatic roles, and she is convincing! On the other hand, Ashton Kutcher is not too bad, either, he puts in the right amount. It is funny to watch the make-out scene between Adam and Lucy (Lake Bell) towards the end.
NSA = WATCH!