While having the benefit of never being predictable, its lack of depth hurts itself. It’s one of those movies that will make you laugh a lot, but you never ever feel for the characters past the fact that they have terrible bosses. But fortunately for the film it’s at its best when its chaotic. The first 20 minutes are the slowest part, but picks up a very steady pace after that. At that point, you don’t really care about depth, you just want to laugh.
The talent is great and the farce is fun. If you don’t overanalyze this movie, you’ll have a good time watching it. And it just gets better with continuous viewings.
Twizard Rating: 84
Now, it’s only natural to compare this movie to No Strings Attached which came out a few months before. Honestly, they are both good movies. However, I think that Friends With Benefits is a lot funnier and slightly more enjoyable. While I thought that the script was stretched a little too thin in this one, it has a much more relatable themes and is more fun altogether. But although both films are worth a watch, No Strings Attached is a little smarter and suffers less from cliches.
While I’m still not a huge fan of Timberlake’s acting, the rest of the cast was tremendous and there’s no denying that his chemistry with Kunis is near-perfect. This may be the sole reason to root for a happy ending at all. Because honestly I couldn’t have felt more detached from their fates.
In slight attempts to make fun of itself, Friends With Benefits doesn’t offer us anything terribly unique plot-wise, but it’s truly a sum of its parts. In the long run, this is one that you’re going to be rewatching before the other.
Twizard Rating: 79
It seems like this would be the type of movie that we’d see at Wal-Mart and ask ourselves why we hadn’t heard of it before, but then realizing it’s because it was a straight-to-DVD release. This isn’t that movie. It’s still a little cheesy at parts, but it gets down to business and commits to its themes all the way.
There may be a lot of subplots, but they all connect with each other and don’t ever feel forced. There’s also no unrealistic antagonists (or bullies) that are typical of these family films, and there’s no unnecessary love story to evoke our most vulnerable senses. The filmmakers are so aware of themselves and so careful not to make us roll our eyes that we can’t help but be gracious.
Although the message is pretty much laid out on the table, it preaches them in a ways that we can all relate to. It reassures us that everything happens for a reason, and teaches us how we can take our misfortune and use it to help others instead of worrying about what it’s hindering us from doing.
The two young leads do a great job with this one–especially Nathan Gamble who grasps his character’s juxtaposition of character and does well showing us how he develops throughout the film.
I’ve said it before that there is a shortage of non-animated family films these days. This is one of the best ones from recent years.
Twizard Rating: 90
The story is unoriginal and the setup is very much rushed, but where it lacks in the screenplay it makes up for in its amazing talent. Reynolds is at as close to the top of his game as I’ve pretty much ever seen him and Bateman taking a break from the straight-man and does an excellent job being the second banana for once. I mean, a lot of the character depth was told to us via other characters rather than actually shown to us, but when it was shown to us it was really funny.
Although most people have drawn the recycled body-switching story to the likes of Freaky Friday, I feel that although similar, the two films serve a very different purpose. Instead of stepping in someone else’s shoes to better understand who they are as a person and where they are coming from, this film allows the characters to step into each other’s shoes so that they can come to a better understanding of themselves and what they need to do different in their own lives. It makes the characters more self-aware and challenges them to see what those closest to them feel that they need to do differently. Sure, it’s not as world changing, but just as important to the individuals and in making others in their lives really appreciate them more.
I will say, however, that this film does tend to ignore much of the morality that has come into question when switching bodies and seems to leave the audience still concerned about how they were resolved. And this film suffers some minor plot holes very early on, such as the fact that when Dave’s wife is asking him questions that only he would know, she asks him what her favorite color is and when their anniversary is. Not sure why she would think that his best friend wouldn’t also know these things, but it seems as though the whole scenario with them trying to convince her that their bodies switched was forgotten about too quickly by her character and that she should have started reconsidering it at some point throughout her husband’s crazy and out-of-character antics. Also, towards the end, why was she so willing to let “Mitchell” kiss her when she still didn’t know what was going on.
This film may not be perfect, but I was laughing pretty consistently throughout and never found myself bored or uninterested.
Twizard Rating: 77