Friends With Benefits
Directed by: Will Gluck
Written by: Keith Merryman, David A. Newman, & Will Gluck (screenplay)
Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Patricia Clarkson, and Woody Harrelson
It’s always a good thing when a modern romance reminds you of the classics, when men and women bounced snappy dialogue off each other as if they were both real people. Most romances made today are lop-sided, usually skewering one gender role in the hopes of appealing to the other. Friends With Benefits is straightforward in its intentions much like its two leads are with each other. It is seeking to debunk and even satirize the myth of true love presented in the movies, and it is very successful at that until it reluctantly caves in to those same cliches.
Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are the perfect match for the verbal ping pong in the script and off-kilter enough to make the movie’s intentions palpable. They are naturally funny and have exceptional chemistry, so they and the rest of the excellent cast shine even brighter in a funny screenplay. It also helps that the director and co-writer Will Gluck knows that creating a sense of atmosphere in New York City is more important than any shot of the Empire State Building.