Cameras and Cut Ups


“No Strings Attached” provokes laughs, tears, predictability

By Joseph Burge

It’s a stereotypical fantasy: every man wants a beautiful woman who only wants sex. She doesn’t care if you call, she doesn’t need you to snuggle and she certainly doesn’t want your love.
That’s when relationship production assistant Adam (Ashton Kutcher) finds himself in with Emma (Natalie Portman), a driven medical student. In this film, Adam just finds out his dad is sleeping with his ex-girlfriend.
When he turns to his friend Emma for solace, they end up in a friends-with-benefits relationship, which escalates predictably when one of them eventually develops feelings for the other. However, Emma claims to hate love, saying she’s bad at relationships and has no time for them.
The characters in this film seem rounded enough. They  stand out as much as any romantic comedy should, and that really lends itself well here.  The actors and actresses, however, fall somewhere in the average spectrum.
Veteran comedian Kutcher does well as the dopey and lovesick Adam. He seems to fit the part in most angles, and where he lacks depth, Portman fills the gaps. His real downfall is having nothing terribly memorable to say during the film. Portman, whose recent win at the Golden Globes for “Black Swan,” starts out rocky and awkward but ends up blending nicely.
In both cases, viewers begins with slightly awkward performances and end with some decent ones. There is actual chemistry between the two, which leaves the viewer with a welcome sigh of relief, since these are two actors with rather different acting styles.
The biggest triumph belongs to its lesser characters, however. Kevin Kline is daringly strange as Adam’s former TV-star father and Jake M. Johnson is quite funny as Adam’s best friend Eli.
A big component that helps this film succeed is its scenery. Altogether, places like Adam’s apartment and the hospital really move the action and the acting along.
With more things to interact with, it covers us some obvious flaws in acting. It adds that extra kick to a rocky scene in a lot of places, making the acting run smoother.
The comedy of this movie is solid. It is entertaining, even if only on the surface. Viewers might find themselves laughing at some of the stupid jokes, even if they find themselves wondering why. Despite the corniness, the viewer will enjoy it.
The film’s problem is its predictability. Viewers will find themselves unsurprised  throughout the entire story, and though they have something to cheer for, they just don’t have any excitement to go off of.
Stale jokes – funny though they may be – populate a great deal of the film. Viewers will know the ending, which may let some of them down. This is mainly due to the hands of novice writers Elizabeth Meriwether and Michael Samonek.
In both cases, a little more work needs to be done to produce real excitement. The problem is the director attached to the film “Ghost Busters” legend Ivan Reitman, should have been more vigilant of the stale jokes. His filmography seems above such mistakes.
Overall, there are bits of the movie to enjoy. Although not a standout film by any means, it tries hard, and is funny.
But in reality, it manages to be average rather than outstanding. “No Strings Attached” pulls a string with 3.5 out of 5.

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