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January 22, 2011 | 12:20 p.m. CST
Dissatisfied with the best friend-only situation and don’t have a solution for getting more action? No Strings Attached provides the simple solution of becoming sex friends and using that as the basis of a, ahem, come-and-go relationship.
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Friends since the days of summer camp, Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) live different lives. Adam, whom every woman wants, is a partier, whereas Emma works to become a doctor and cuts herself off from her emotions following the death of her father. Her harsh outlook on relationships and getting hurt in them proves to be a goldmine for Adam at first, but don’t think he’s the only one benefiting. By her prompting and his approving, the casual sex begins and continues at his house, her work, the shower — anytime day or night. Yet, the rules clearly laid out in the beginning are blurred after one “period mix,” one emergency contact and one date later.
Playing to its target audience of younger women, the flick creates a reversal of emotional roles with Emma initiating the friends with benefits relationship and resisting Adam as anything but a sex partner. On the flip side, Adam finds himself going out of his way to be charming for Emma. Expect many “awws” to be heard throughout the theater.
Through the romantic comedy’s relatively predictable plot shines the charm of both actors. Kutcher’s role is one his fans have seen before; however, Portman, who just won a Golden Globe for Black Swan, picks up the part seen many times before by peers such as Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, yet proves to be a fresh addition for the often laughed at, not laughed with, genre.
Although awkward at times, the movie serves more as a feel-good laugh for women, rather than a true commitment for guys. But then again, maybe commitment isn’t such a bad thing after all.