Vul­gar bid for hon­esty

Friend With Ben­e­fits

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Star­ring Mila Ku­nis, Justin Tim­ber­lake, Richard Jenk­ins, Woody Har­rel­son. Di­rected By Wil­liam Gluck. 109 Min­utes, R16. Re­viewed by KYLIE KLEIN-NIXON

One night, while watch­ing a ter­ri­ble rom-com pas­tiche – a def­i­nite poke at uber-rom-com Sleep­less in Seat­tle – and af­ter one too many beers, they make a pact.

To hell with love, they say. They’re adults, they need sex, they should just use each other for that. Of­ten and gra­tu­itously. But they vow to re­main just bud­dies, no strings at­tached.

Nat­u­rally this all falls to pieces, with ‘‘hi­lar­i­ous’’ re­sults. To say the end­ing of this film won’t sur­prise any­one would be disin­gen­u­ous; it is ac­tu­ally sur­pris­ing.

But be­cause Friends With Ben­e­fits tries des­per­ately to be every­thing rom-coms are not – hon­est to the point of vul­gar­ity (the oral sex scene is so on the nose it is ac­tu­ally hi­lar­i­ous), up­front about what re­ally goes on in our heads and beds, and wit­tily ob­vi­ous in pok­ing fun at the for­mula and cliches it’s try­ing to break down – the happy end­ing seems trite.

By chick­en­ing out so lamely, Friends with Ben­e­fits ends up no bet­ter than any Kather­ine Heigl-star­ring, Nora Ef­frondi­rected, Rob Reiner-ap­proved sob-fest that came be­fore it.

In fact, even the ref­er­ence to rom-com queen Heigl whom Ku­nis de­light­fully calls a

Friends with Ben­e­fits might be fun for a date night. But don’t ex­pect any­thing new or dif­fer­ent – ex­cept the pretty faces. ‘‘stupid liar’’ in one scene, rings pretty hol­low by the end.

Ku­nis’ enor­mous, tear glis­ten­ing eyes, filled with ado­ra­tion for her man, would give Heigl a run for her money any day.

Op­po­site her, Justin Tim­ber­lake is just too metro to be re­ally be­liev­able in this role. He’s the ul­ti­mate sup­port­ing cast, but he just does not have the chops to an­chor a film.

He crum­bles in his scenes op­po­site Richard Jenk­ins, who plays his gnarled and de­men­tia-ad­dled fa­ther, and is in­ert op­po­site rau­cous and charm­ing gay sports editor Tommy, played with aban­don and glee by Woody Har­rel­son.

But it is Ku­nis who re­ally shines in this film. She ends up be­ing the most lik­able rom-com lady to grace the screens in a long time.

A pity then they felt the need to give even this spec­i­men of youth­ful gor­geous­ness an ass dou­ble in one scene. What hope is there for the rest of us?

Poor re­la­tions:

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