Movie Review - "No Stings Attached" with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman

Movie Review - "No Stings Attached" with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman

by David Schuster and Steven Leventhal

no_strings_attached.jpg

Kutcher tries to snuggle with an emotionally challenged Portman

Finally some material that Ashton Kutcher can actually look good in. Up til now the movies he has appeared in have been garbage but the writing in "No Strings Attached" is superb and packs a punch. Kutcher hasn't had such good material since "That 70's Show".

Kutcher seems to have been typecast as the affable, charming, happy-go-lucky, yet only modestly successful guy.  In "No Strings Attached" he plays Adam, an assistant to the assistant producer of a "Glee" knockoff.  He yearns to step out of his dad's shadow,a former TV star played fabulously by Kevin Kline. Thank you thank you for having Kline in this movie. He is an all time favorite actor who is always great on screen and is once again, in this romp.  Adam would love to have his script for the show turned into an episode of the show. 

Fifteen years prior, he met Emma (Natalie Portman) at a summer camp where the emotionally awkward girl is hardly prepared to console him on t he divorce of his parents. 

Back to the near present, they meet again in college, and once more when
she moves to Los Angeles to begin her medical internship.  This is when
their worlds collide again in ways I don't want to spoil.  I will tell
you that they begin a sexual relationship which at her insistence is
devoid of typical boyfriend-girlfriend interactions.  Her excuse is that
she's working eighty-hour weeks at the hospital, but in reality she
still is emotionally challenged. 

no_strings_ attached2.JPG

Of course you know, he falls for her.  The real question is whether or
not she comes out of the emotional force field she has constructed
around herself. 

The movie is filled with some very enjoyable characters beginning with
Kline as the stereotypical actor living off his former glory, and
bedding women, including Adam's ex-girlfriend.  I didn't even recognize
Cary Elwes (Princess Bride) as Emma's mentor at the hospital.  Emma's
roommates Patrice (Greta Gerwig) and Shira (Talia Balsam) are great as
supporting castmates, along with Jake Johnson who portrays Adam's
housemate Eli, and Ludacris, who is their friend Wallace, who happens to
own their favorite watering hole. 

Ivan Reitman has always been a favorite director, and in this flick
actually makes a couple of cameos. Maybe he will pick up on Alfred
Hitchcock's old gag of appearing briefly in his own movies.

Eli and Wallace tell Adam to just roll with it, that being every guy's
dream, a beautiful girl who just wants to be friends with benefits.

Go see this one with your wife/girlfriend/date.  It's got hot girls,
Portman, and even actress Lake Bell with no shirt on.  Also there's some
gratuitous girl on girl for the guys, and a butt shot for the ladies. 

"No Strings Attached" is fairly predictable but that didn't seem to be
an issue, this time around because the writing was so good and the
chemistry between the actors makes the movie work.  Our rating - a
triple - three stars
for the good cast, decent script, and only one
look-at-your watch to check the time moment.

Oh, and don't leave before the credits roll, there are a few added scenes.

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  • Whether you see this as being borrowed, stolen, or one gigantic coincidence, a New Haven based writer/director wrote a script called "F**k Buddies" in 1999. When it proved a difficult sell due to the name and a key scene that he refused to change he re-titled the film Friends (with benefits) and produced it independently in 2006-2007. Last year this funny, sexy, raunchy little film played the film festival circuit winning a bunch of awards along the way. Superbly cast with a fresh, young NYC based cast (with cameos by Rooney Mara and NYT featured yoga guru Tara Stiles) it is the film No Strings tries to be, right down to the medical scrubs.
    Please help support indie film and check out Friends (with benefits) by Gorman Bechard. It's available on demand in select markets or can be watched (for free!) on both Fancast & Babelgum. Thanks for supporting indie film!

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