By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 5 out of 10
Natalie Portman is on a roll. She’s the top contender for the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Black Swan, and with her upcoming roles in The Other Woman, Your Highness, and Thor, she’s at the top of her game. No Strings Attached is not really a failure, with the laughs coming from mostly unoriginal gags and the fact that it’s a typical rom-com. However, with performances by Portman along with Ashton Kutcher, and the direction of Ivan Reitman, the film manages to pass.
The film is about the friendship between Adam and Emma (Kutcher and Portman respectively). They have been friends since they were kids, and have seen each other on and off, eventually reuniting on the west coast. Adam is a production assistant on a T.V. show and Emma is doing her residency at a hospital. After rekindling their friendship and having a spontaneous sexual encounter, both of them decide to use each other for sex. There are boundaries though, such as no cuddling, no eating breakfast together, no nicknames for each other, and most importantly, no falling for each other. However, the real question is (as if you haven’t already guessed by now), who will fall for the other first.
Ivan Reitman, best known for Stripes and Ghostbusters, has comedy in his blood. He not only can do comedy well, but he can make likeable stories out of comedy. It’s unfortunate though that a so-so script by Elizabeth Meriwether made the film a near dud. However, the ensemble manages to pull the film together. Gretta Gerwig (Greenberg) and Mndy Kaling (T.V’s “The Office”) are hilarious as Emma’s roommates, and Olivia Thirlby as Emma’s sister is a delight. The funniest people however are Kevin Kline and Cary Elwes. Kline plays Adam’s dad, who’s a star in the showbiz. He has an act for sleeping with Adam’s exes, and the fact that he’s just down right filthy and dirty is Kline at his funniest. Kline once again proves that he can do just about anything. Cary Elwes plays Emma’s boss, and is almost unrecognizable due to the beard. He is silent throughout the film most of the time; however, his facial reactions are great, and Elwes proves as well that he has the chops to do anything that comes his way.
The overall film is unoriginal. Kutcher, Portman, and the rest of the cast are great, doing the best that they can with a story that is the typical rom-com. It’s unoriginal yes, but overall, it’s good. But just good.