Will Gluck, it seems, is becoming a rival to the comedy giant that is Judd Apatow. With Easy A being easily one of the most charming and smartly written teen comedies since the original American Pie Will Gluck follows up with another awesome effort, Friends With Benefits. More adult than Easy A but equally as quippish, smart and (also like Easy A) makes fun of the genre it is placed in but at the same time shows a love for it.
The story is of Dylan and Jaime, when Dyaln flies from L.A. to New York for a job interview with GQ set up by headhunter Jaime instead of trying to sell Dylan on the job Jaime instead sells him on New York which sparks up a friendship. Soo these 2 are hanging out as besties and have both taken themselves off the dating market and soon come to the agreement of having unemotional purely physical sex with each other. At first everything seems to be fine as the 2 stop when they are ready to start dating again but soon the inevitable happens, their feelings of friendship evolve even though niether of them are willing to admit it. Que a trip back home to L.A. where Jaime meets Dylan's sister and her son along with their alzhiemers suffering father. Next comes the fight that leads to the big make up scene involving a flashdance to a song of which a running gag is made throughout the film. OK yes all of that does sound like your typical rom-com film and it is but what makes this film entertaining is the dialogue, the set ups and the performances.
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake's chemistry is off the charts and really it's this great chemistry that MAKES the film. Timberlake is proving to be an actor to watch and Kunis proves what I've been saying of her for years now - SHE DESERVES THE LEAD NOT JUST THE BEST FRIEND ROLES, she's awesome! Jenna Elfman (TV's Dharma) is also a delight to watch as Dylan's big sister but possibly the scene stealer of the film is Woody Harrelson as a very funny if not slightly mysogenistic gay workfriend of Dylans. Patricia Clarkson provides another performance in a Gluck movie as a whacky loving mother who likes to tease her daughter of her paternal lineage.
There's laughter, pathos, seriousness and yes indeed rom-com cliches but this film is definately better than the Kutcher/Portman film of the same premise (No Strings Attached) probably one of the better films released overall in 2011 and definately the best rom-com I've seen in a while. The extras are a little light on this DVD (the main reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 out of 5) there's about 8 minutes worth of outtakes, 10 minutes worth of deleted scenes and a good commentary track featuring director Gluck and his 2 stars Kunis and Timberlake. One things for sure though, I will be looking out for Gluck's next effort.