Tuesday, August 16, 2022


July 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Friends with Benefits may certainly benefit from a number of friends among the critics. Even the few who knock it don’t do so with much scorn. For example, Claudia Puig in USA Today concludes her review by writing, “When it’s good, Friends With Benefits is quite good — especially as it skewers rom-com clich├ęs. And [stars Justin] Timberlake and [Mila] Kunis definitely bring sexy back to a tired formula. If only the movie had been worthy of their expertly playful pairing.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times writes about her disappointment that “this very salty, often funny affair is never quite as satisfying as it should be.” Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post ticks off her complaints about the movie — “cheap-looking cinematography,” “hyperactive editing,” “jittery” scenes — then concludes that its “infractions” are committed with a welcome degree of wit and, when it slows down enough, spirited flair.” Likewise Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times complains that the film appropriates one rom-com formula after another, but then adds, “What not every rom-com has, however, is good dialogue, well delivered at a fast clip. … I simply enjoyed watching [Timberlake and Kunis]. That was sort of enough.” And Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune sums up: “Enough goes right to compensate for what doesn’t quite.” Among Friends‘s best friends is Manohla Dargis of the New York Times, who describes the movie as “breezy, speedy and (no kidding) funny” and remarks that she had “a fairly giggling good time” watching it. Lou Lumenick in the New York Post suggests that the chemistry of the two stars lifts the movie above similar ones — like this year’s No Strings Attached. Timberlake and Kunis, he writes, “are practically combustible together.” And Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle distributes plaudits evenly among the director, the stars, the supporting actors and — especially — the writers. “The ultimate support,” he writes, “is a smart script. In Friends With Benefits, when the two argue, and one is wrong, the point of view of the one who’s wrong is just as well argued as the one who’s right. That kind of thing is frustrating in life, because it happens so often, but it’s welcome in movies because it’s so rare.”