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Movie Review: No Strings Attached

January 21, 2011

No Strings Attached – A Paramount Pictures’ Release

http://www.nostringsattachedmovie.com/

Release Date: January 21st

Rated 14A for coarse language, nudity and sexual content

Running time: 108 minutes

Ivan Reitman (dir.)

Elizabeth Meriwether (screenplay)

Mike Samonek (story)

John Debney (music)

Natalie Portman as Emma

Ashton Kutcher as Adam

Kevin Kline as Alvin

Cary Elwes as Dr. Metzner

Greta Gerwig as Patrice

Lake Bell as Lucy

Olivia Thirlby as Katie

Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges as Wallace

Jake M. Johnson as Eli

Ophelia Lovibond as Vanessa

©Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman in No Strings Attached.

Our reviews below:

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No Strings Attached Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Veteran director Ivan Reitman’s latest romantic comedy, No Strings Attached, asks the question of whether or not “friends with benefits” can still be best friends, and the clever script by Elizabeth Meriwether does so in a way that is surprisingly in tune with it’s time and characters.

Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) first met when they were teenagers at summer camp.  Their friendship has developed over the last 15 years, and after a drunken night of finding out that his father, Alvin (Kevin Kline) is sleeping with his ex-girlfriend, they hook up.  As Emma is an ER doctor and barely has time for a relationship, so starts their pact to use each other for sex.  But when Adam starts rightfully seeing their relationship as something more, Emma instinctively wants to run the other way before true commitment can take hold.

Ashton Kutcher is basically reprising the role that he’s played in every other romantic comedy, but here his likable performance is actually supported by a surprisingly good and fitfully raunchy script.  Natalie Portman’s work here obviously can’t be compared to her Oscar-worthy turn in Black Swan, but her genuinely natural performance is appealing, sexy and often very funny.  They are also notably aided by a good supporting cast, which includes Greta Gerwig and Olivia Thirlby.

Even at points when the plot is as predictable as the trip home from the theatre, No Strings Attached manages to be more entertaining and enjoyable than all of last year’s awful to mediocre romantic comedies put together.  It’s by no means groundbreaking, but it is an enjoyable diversion that’s made stronger by a good script and competent direction, and is worth seeing for Natalie Portman (also serving as a producer) and the likable cast.

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No Strings Attached Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

In No Strings Attached, Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) are ‘friends with benefits.’  She’s a doctor and he’s a PA on a hit TV show and both of them agree that no commitment is best, especially with their careers.  The problem is, how long can you just ‘do it’ without other feelings developing – and if they do, should you go with it or run the other way?

Unlike a lot of rom-com’s released last year, the characters here actually feel believable, with the actors all doing fine in their roles.  The whole film is shot well and other than the not very original plotline of ‘two people who don’t realize how well they’d actually work together as a couple’, No Strings Attached manages to work.

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No Strings Attached Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Can you have intimacy without love?  That is the premise of director Ivan Reitman’s newest film, No Strings Attached.  The film begins when two teenagers meet at summer camp.  They keep running into each other, and become good friends.  But after Adam (Ashton Kutcher) experiences a bad breakup, he drunkenly decides to sleep with whoever is available.  The woman whom he hooks up with is none other than his good friend, Emma (Natalie Portman).  The two feel mutual attraction, but out of a fear of commitment, decide to keep their relationship purely physical.

Over time, however, Adam begins to fall in love with Emma.  The feeling is reciprocated, and while the two attempt to avoid true love, they eventually can’t stop falling for each other.  No Strings Attached is both sweet and funny, and while it has raunchy dialogue, it never delves into overt rudeness.  The script is clever, the story is good, and the acting is decent.  There are also many laugh out loud moments.  One of the funniest scenes involves Adam presenting Emma with a “period mix,” a compilation of songs for her to listen to once a month.

No Strings Attached is one of those increasingly rare rom-coms that is clever, heartwarming and hilarious.  This one would make the perfect date movie, but it is also just as fun to see on your own.

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No Strings Attached Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

There are all kinds of friendships.  Some fade away over time, some grow into something deeper, and some friends venture into the murky zone of friends with benefits.

In No Strings Attached, Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) keep running into each other after meeting years earlier as awkward teens at summer camp.  When Adam’s girlfriend, Vanessa (Ophelia Lovibond) dumps him for his famous father (Kevin Kline), Adam’s friends convince him that a casual romp in the sack will get his mind off things.  When he winds up passed out and naked at the house his friend Emma shares with three other young doctors, Adam and Emma decide to take advantage of the situation and make a pact to be friends with benefits.

As would be expected in this kind of predictable romantic-comedy, one of the friends is going to be more attached than the other.  There will be strings along with the casual sex.  Even with the predictability of the script, No Strings Attached is still a very likable movie.  Credit has to go to both Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher for their believable and likable performances.  The movie also has a smartly written – although raunchy at times – script, several really funny scenes, and a strong supporting cast.  The whole thing wraps up nicely at the end with an outcome most viewers will find satisfying.

In terms of romantic-comedies, No Strings Attached is a nice start to the 2011 movie season.  Fans of Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher will be especially pleased.

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No Strings Attached Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

No Strings Attached refers to the relationship between Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) who had first met each other at summer camp and later through mutual friends at college. Both now close to 30 in L.A., he is a production assistant and would be script writer for a TV series and she is a medical resident. A casual relationship based only on sex predictably leads to more in the end.

Since this is hardly an original premise, success for such a film requires two charming leads, a strong supporting cast, and good script. Love and Other Drugs was a good recent example.  Though not as good as that film, No Strings Attached delivers reasonably well on all levels under the experienced direction of Ivan Reitman. Though some may find the humour and language a bit coarse at times, save for one bare butt there is no nudity and no really offensive content such as seen in recent mediocre comedies like Going The Distance or Due Date.

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Consensus: With good performances from Ashton Kutcher, Natalie Portman and a strong supporting cast, No Strings Attached is an enjoyable (if predictable) romantic comedy from veteran director Ivan Reitman. *** (Out of 4)

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