Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The Stars: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher
The Story: Emma and Adam are childhood friends who’ve been drawn to each other since they met in summer camp. After impulsively having sex one morning, the casual buddies turn into casual sex buddies. They swear to keep the relationship strictly physical but as their intimacy intensifies, the pair struggles to maintain their friends-with-benefits status quo without feelings getting in the way. When Adam inevitably falls for the commitment-phobic Emma, their friendship turns complicated.
The Buzz: Directed by Ivan Reitman of Ghostbusters and Meatballs fame and written by buzzed-about New York playwright Elizabeth Meriwether, No Strings Attached actually boasts a pretty credible pedigree despite its conventional rom-com premise.
inSing says:No Strings Attached plays like every other generic romantic comedy you’ve ever come across - with copy-and-paste tropes and variations of old jokes. Mid-life crisis dad, best friend who interrupts sex, a break-up in the third act followed by a last minute dash to salvage the relationship...I could go on, but you get the picture. However customary the story though, the movie is still filled with enough natural sweetness and frank candour to worm its way into your heart.
Meriwether’s script is very clever when it needs to be and is refreshingly uncontrived. The film’s most riotous joke revolves around a period-themed mixtape that Adam makes for a menstruating Emma. The songs on that thing are classic and I shan’t spoil them but that gag is a shining example of the carefree dirty humour the movie excels at. While not quite Apatow raunchy, it makes the surrounding blandness more palatable.
I don’t know if this is because Portman was given the meatier role or simply due the fact that she’s one of the finest actresses or this generation, but Kutcher’s shortcomings are magnified when opposite someone of this calibre. The couple are endearing enough even without any significant chemistry and this is all credit to Portman. One could whine that this kind of fluff is a step back after the heights of Black Swan (heck, her debut was magnificent in Léon: The Professional) but it’s also nice to her in something less intense these days.
500 Days of Summer may have done the ‘romantic guy chases the smart independent girl’ plot much better but No Strings Attacheddoes enough to stand out among its genre peers, albeit without being particularly outstanding either.
Hidzir Junaini, aka inSing.com's Movie Lover, is 24-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for Metrowize Asia. Hidzir is the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.