Now Showing: No Strings Attached
When I groaned after No Strings Attached ended, my friend turned to me and said, “If you hate romance, don’t go see romantic comedies!” And those who have read my reviews before probably already know that I’m not a sucker for romance. So you would think that I might enjoy a comedy about platonic sex buddies Emma and Adam (played by Nathalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher). They have their simple romance-free rules, just in case they start falling for each other. But as we all know, in the world of romantic comedies, rules are made to be broken. Corny jokes and unrealistic situations ensue.
Portman and Kutcher are beautiful people, no one can deny that. It’s not hard to watch them on screen. But after seeing Portman’s work in Black Swan, there’s just no comparison. She is capable of challenging herself as an actress, but No Strings Attached is the kind of movie that comes out a hundred times in a year. A girl with commitment issues “unexpectedly” reveals that her heart isn’t made of stone. Not completely original. I’m not yet convinced that Kutcher can take on tougher roles than the cute, flawless love interest, but he owes it to himself to at least try something new.
There are a lot of minor characters who the audience is forced to become invested in, but don’t get any reward. Abby Elliot, known for being a current cast member on SNL, could have used a lot more screen time. The same goes for Mindy Kaling (The Office), Olivia Thirlby (Juno), Kevin Kline, and Ludacris. And there’s a puppy, who’s a complete scene-stealer. Unfortunately rather than getting to know their characters, we’re forced to sit through almost two hours of Adam and Emma will-they-won’t-they.
Every movie has some redeeming qualities, though, and this one has two: its use of technology…and Ludacris. Unlike the majority of this unrealistic movie (Adam’s dad gets together with Adam’s ex-girlfriend just for an example off the top of my head), the use of technology was actually clever. When Adam and his friends analyze text messages and voicemails going back and forth between him and Emma, it was pretty reminiscent of some conversations between my friends. (Ever have one of those conversations: “OMG, he texted me ‘hi.’ What do I say back?” and then debate possible responses for an hour?) That’s the one great thing about romantic comedies; they’re usually not in production for an extended period of time, so they are pretty relevant.
Overall, if you’re unlike me and are looking to lose yourself in a simple romantic comedy with a couple of clever, check out No Strings Attached. It will definitely deliver. If you’re hoping for a movie with a little more meat that makes you feel something, go watch one of the Academy Award front-runners instead (try The King’s Speech if you haven’t seen it yet).
Click here to get Meredith’s take on other new releases.