Friends with Benefits

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Can mixing friendship with pleasure ever really work?

That’s the question posed in the witty genre-bending rom-com “Friends with Benefits.” Though the premise is familiar (think back to January’s “No Strings Attached”), the delivery is as fresh as the humor throughout the film. “FWB” makes fun of romantic comedies just as much as it embraces the cliches, throwing in some ironic cue music right along with talks of the ultimate fairy tale romance.

Jamie (Mila Kunis), a corporate headhunter, bags Dylan (Justin Timberlake), a new media wunderkind, as the art director for GQ. With their quirky personalities and similar trainwrecks in the love department, the pair form a fast friendship.

Acknowledging their palpable chemistry and ever-increasing “needs,” the two buddies decide to transition from having fun times aroundNew York Cityto having some equally fun times in the bedroom.

And the plot progress just as you likely expected it to going into the theater. What starts out as casual sex turns into sex plus emotions, and Jamie and Dylan must decide what to do about it.

What saves the movie from becoming as stale as another “Final Destination” installment is the comedic chops of the stars. Though the storyline may not be the most original, the pairing of Kunis and Timberlake certainly is. The banter between these two is so easy and natural that it almost seems like they ad-libbed the whole thing.

The hilarious supporting actors also spice things up, with Woody Harrelson as Tommy, the flamboyant GQ sports editor, and Patricia Clarkson as Lorna, Jamie’s stuck-in-the-70s flighty mother.

“Friends with Benefits” may not be the stand-out movie of the year (or the summer, for that matter), but it’s certainly worth putting on the “to see” list – even if only for 109 minutes of two ofHollywood’s brightest young comedy stars.


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