21 January 2011
Comedy | Romance
Romance is such a common thing in our lives that it can be very predictable. You know, meet by chance, get to know one another, spark the chemistry, get intimate, and fall in love. At least that’s how most of the 20th Century was, but the new film from Paramount Pictures, “No Strings Attached”, looks to challenge this ideal. Veteran director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) has given us some great cinema, and even with a predictable romantic-comedy like this it mostly works.
“Strings…” stars Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman as Adam and Emma, two young friends who first meet during an awkward summer camp dance. They don’t see each other for a decade when in college, and still are awkward. Then to modern day they meet for a third time but all too briefly as they have busy lives, but after a drunken bender he ends up on Emma’s couch without any memory of the dumb things he did. As he begins to recover the next morning, she helps find his clothes and in dressing him…she undresses him for 45 seconds of sex. From there on, Adam and Emma begin a sexual relationship, but nothing else. He is touchy and likes to cuddle; she is cold and distant but a strong woman. This unlikely pair ain’t Rock Hudson and Doris Day. However, as anyone who knows romance films, they begin to get closer to each other and develop real feelings of love…but will it work out in the end?
Kutcher and Portman are both used to mushy romance films, but they’re genuinely having fun here with the dirty sex jokes. When she and her roommates are all having their menstrual cycle at once, he makes her a “Period Mix Disc” with songs like “I’ve got the World on a String”. The word penis is said about a dozen times, it might actually be a record. There are some great supporting actors including Cary Elwes, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and most notably Kevin Kline (The Big Chill) as Adam’s idiot father. Yet all the same the humor eventually ends and a real movie is attempted as our f***-buddies switch their roles, becoming both vile and vulnerable. Reitman tries hard to make a memorable romance and enchant the audience, but it’s all just too predictable.
The result is a DVD that young women will watch while wrapped up in a Snuggie. Like many other romances, “No Strings Attached” is nothing new, or even enlightening. It is, however, an entertaining guilty pleasure, and made with less brains but a lot of heart. The final shot of the film is enough to make even the most hopeless romantic go “Awwww.”