First things first. No Strings Attached is not a great movie. In the right context, however, it is a good movie. By comparing it to the banal slew of romantic comedies from the past couple of years, it’s clearly above average. So it’s really all about setting expectations.
Is the movie too long? Yes, by at least 20 minutes. Is it predictable? Totally. What makes it surprisingly fun, however, it’s its gleeful irreverence and fearlessness for crossing the line from prudishly romantic to overtly sexual. And leads Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher are perfectly cast.
We know, we know. It’s not cool to admit to liking Ashton Kutcher and we’re not sure exactly why, but we find him utterly charming, goofy and adorably vulnerable. Plus, he’s not afraid to drop his pants, which is worth the price of admission alone. Demi done good!
From director Ivan Reitman (Animal House, Meatballs), it shouldn’t be that surprising that the movie is filled with crass humor and lots of expletives. Just watch the unrated trailer for proof (and a downloadable record of Kutcher’s assets, which we’re fondly calling That ‘70s Chode).
In the screenplay by Elizabeth Meriwether, we get a nice twist with the female character being the commitmentphobe for a change. After Black Swan, it’s especially nice to see Portman exercise her comedic chops. And she’s got ’em.
Ultimately, No Strings Attached is an amusing two-hour distraction with more than its share of laugh-out-loud moments. It treats homosexuality with refreshing nonchalance, too. There’s a character with gay dads (though you have to wait until the closing credits to finally see them), an openly gay character and some hot lesbian action thrown in for good measure.
We plan to see it a second time with Cindy Jacobs just to see her collapse in a heap of self-righteous shock. Now that’s our idea of a fun night out.
Opens today in theaters everywhere
Watch the restricted trailer here