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REVIEW: No Strings Attached (2011)

27 Jan

No Strings Attached

Rated: R

Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline

Director: Ivan Reitman

Review by: Sarah Higgins (Guest Author)

I’ve enjoyed reading Chris and Pac’s blog for three months, but it seemed the site could benefit from a female perspective, so I offered to contribute periodically. It is oh-so-fitting that the first review they asked for is a romantic comedy.

No Strings Attached is your typical rom-com, with a twist: give the male lead traditionally female characteristics, and vice versa. It’s not a new idea, but it was a nice change to a largely formulaic genre.

Not only is Emma (Natalie Portman) the doctor with no time for romantic relationships, she’s the commitment-phobe. Adam (Ashton Kutcher) is the monogamist with a heart of gold, despite (or maybe because of) being raised by a laissez-faire, multiple-divorcee father (Kevin Kline) who is now dating his son’s ex-girlfriend.

Man, that's cold.

Both Portman and Kutcher make the most of their roles, playing up their opposite-gender traits, but not over-doing it. The highlight of the film is the chemistry between the two main characters. Their relationship – defined or not – is believable and fun to watch.

The supporting cast of characters is great – quirky and providing fun distraction from the main plot – and the soundtrack is a character all its own. Color Me Badd’s I Wanna Sex You Up hilariously sets the tone in the early minutes of the film.

Color Me Badd also set a hilarious tone for the early 90's.

Unfortunately, while the lyrics are good, some of the lines are bad. Really bad. Early on, No Strings Attached tries much too hard in the way of crass humor. I imagine the filmmakers were reaching out to a possible male audience, but the effort is hollow. Their abandonment of the effort halfway through the film was genius.

Another big negative is the film’s ending. Everyone in the audience knows where this story is heading, and that is okay. That is a romantic comedy. But that doesn’t mean the ending should be abbreviated. As ‘The End’ appeared on the screen, the audience literally groaned out loud.

But wait for it… there are more scenes during the credit roll! Instead of being snappy, comedic additions to the plot, we watched what felt to be the real ending of the film. Thank goodness.

No Strings Attached wasn’t the best movie ever, but I enjoyed watching it. Any film that heavily features Ashton Kutcher’s abs, really does have a lot to offer.

Hello Lover....

  • Characters: B+
  • Cinematography: B
  • Directing: B
  • Plot: B+
  • Performances: A