Movie Review: No Strings Attached – Starring Natalie Portman & Ashton Kutcher

by Jason of New Movie Friday on January 21, 2011

in Movie Reviews

No Strings AttachedMovie: No Strings Attached (R)
Released: January 21st, 2011
Runtime: 1 hr. 50 min.
Ticket Price: $6.00 Early Matinee
Refreshments: None
Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline, Greta Gerwig, Lake Bell, Mindy Kaling & Cary Elwes
Director: Ivan Reitman

Rating: Worth an Early Matinee

Synopsis: A guy gets some disturbing news and goes out on a bender. He wakes the next morning at the apartment of a girl he has randomly run into over the past 15 years, since meeting at summer camp. They end up having sex, but she doesn’t want or have time for a relationship and wants to keep things on a purely physical level only. So, they come up with some rules, like no fighting, getting jealous, having future expectations, etc. But, will one of them break the rules and actually fall in love?

Review: A Steve Martin quote immediately came to mind upon exiting the theater: “Don’t have sex man. It leads to kissing and pretty soon you have to start talking to them.” No Strings Attached pretty much takes that sentiment and turns it into 110 minutes of lightly satisfying rom-com hijinks, as the story doesn’t really go any deeper than that quote.

Much of what happens feels like you’ve seen it before, which is because you have. As they say, “there’s nothing new under the sun.” So, the key to a great movie is making the audience feel like they haven’t seen it before, even when they have. That doesn’t really happen here.

Yet, No Strings Attached does get some credit for turning things upside down and making it the female character that doesn’t want to commit and just wants to have fun. You get all the same types of scenarios you’d find in the average rom-com, right down to the ending. They just basically had the chick and the dude trade places.

Portman and Kutcher do have good chemistry on screen, which holds things together. And, the rest of the cast is mostly well used, if in ways just like you’d expect. But, apparently Elwes owed someone a favor, cause his role is barely more than a cameo that any halfway decent looking guy could’ve played.

There are some funny moments, but not as many as you’d hope. Also, there are some moments that contribute to it’s R-rating that aren’t really needed. If it doesn’t make the scene any funnier, then why have it. A groaning uneasiness from the audience couldn’t be what they were going for, yet they achieved it a few times.

Overall, No Strings Attached is a solidly entertaining romantic comedy that hits mostly the right notes on the romantic part, but falls a little shy on the comedy. If you have a discount coupon, free movie pass or your local theater has an early matinee like mine does, then go ahead and see it. Otherwise, wait for the rental.

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