Guilty pleasure: Friends with Benefits
Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis save the year’s second friends-with-benefits comedy.
This year, Hollywood graced us with not one but two fuck-buddy romcoms, and Friends with Benefits is most distinguishable as the one without Mr. Demi Moore. (That was No Strings Attached.) In FWB, the stars’ charisma and comic chops compensate for a lot of nonsense, such as the fact that Justin Timberlake is playing a supposedly irreplaceable L.A. art director who’s somehow managed to make it to his late twenties without ever visiting New York, or that Mila Kunis is playing a headhunter in journalism—a profession currently known for having far more job applicants than job offerers. Then again, we’re also supposed to buy the leads’ ongoing singledom, their expensively tricked-out pads and their aversion to declaring themselves a couple even while they make their affection plainly visible to everyone around them. Patricia Clarkson more or less walks off with the movie as Kunis’s character’s shoot-from-the-hip mom. The finale—a musical number shot in Grand Central Terminal (but more suited to a studio backlot)—is emblematic of the movie’s goofy embrace of artifice over anything resembling real life. (Available on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray Fri 2.)