Friends with Benefits was just the fun, funny, well-made romcom I needed on a miserably hot July afternoon. And, it removed the bad taste in my mouth leftover from another alleged romcom I saw this week -- Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Much has already been made of the magical chemistry between the two gorgeous leads. If you were lucky enough to catch Lester Holt's TODAY show interview with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, then you know their chemistry extends beyond the big screen. They do more than look good together. They have fun together.
The movie's premise should be obvious from the name ... although Lester (a grown-up, more handsome, Urkel, if e'er there was one) acted like he wasn't sure what "friends with benefits" could possibly mean.
Dylan (JT) and Jamie (Kunis) have each been dumped -- in hilarious scenes -- by their respective mates. They've been accused of being emotionally unavailable and emotionally damaged. They meet when Jamie (a headhunter) recruits an L.A.-loving Dylan to be the art director at GQ in New York. Since Dylan doesn't know anyone else in town, he and Jamie start having lunch, getting together for beers and watching romantic comedies together.
Neither is romantically interested in the other, they swear (on a Bible app on Jamie's iPad) so they should be able to get together for no-strings-attached sex. We know this isn't a sustainable plan, even as they try to convince themselves it's perfect. Complications ensue.
The supporting players are almost all uniformly great. Even those who have just one scene (Andy Samberg and Emma Stone) are memorable. Patricia Clarkson is perfect as Jamie's irresponsible, sexually liberated mom. Woody Harrelson plays against type as a macho, gay sports editor at GQ. ("I'm strictly dickly," he tells Dylan.)
I could've done without a miscast Jenna Elfman as Dylan's big sister, but then again, I can always do without Jenna Elfman.
But, I shall not pick nits. The movie and its leads are a pure delight. I'm hoping Timberlake and Kunis will team up again. I'd like to see them become a latter day Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. See it!