Movie Review: No Strings Attached (2011)
Director: Ivan Reitman
Cast: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline
Plot: Adam (Kutcher) and Emma (Portman) met at summer camp when they were 14. While everyone else was making out, Adam was trying to get into Emma’s pants…without much success. Jump years later and they meet again in college at a party, where he’s drunk and she sticks out like a nerdy sore thumb. Years later again he works in Hollywood as an assistant on a High School Musical TV show, and she’s a doctor. One night, Adam’s famous actor dad (Kline) announces that he’s dating Adam’s ex-girlfriend, and Adam goes on a drinking binge.

The next day, Adam wakes up in Emma’s apartment and they hook up. They then decide to keep things casual and have “no strings attached” (see, not just a clever title). If one of them wants more, then they’ll just call the whole thing off. But in traditional romantic comedy fashion (sorry for any spoilers), one of them does start to want more out of the relationship. Can they continue to pull off their emotion-free sex-capade, or will they end up together at the end of the movie?

[***SPOILERS***]

No Strings Attached is a cute and funny movie filled with appropriately awkward moments and some superb acting. Sadly it eventually becomes cliche and predictable. Sorry if I end up spoiling the ending of every romantic comedy movie ever, but they get together in the end. And it’s very obvious that’s where the film is headed.

But the journey there is fun, and really that’s what counts, right? There were several twists and turns throughout where I thought the movie was going to head down a certain path – but then no, they get back on track to following the “safe path” of the romantic comedy formula.

As much as I despise this predictable formula, there’s a reason it keeps getting used over and over again – people like it. They want to see the main characters get together in the end. It’s satisfying and enjoyable. And this movie is no exception to that. However, upon exiting the theater during my pre-screening on Thursday night (sorry this review is so late), I overheard many of the women in the theater (because there were no men in there other than me) saying that they too were disappointed that the movie didn’t resemble real life more. Namely, whenever these theater women have one-night stands, apparently the dude doesn’t call back or it doesn’t work out.

I’m not sure what these chicks are doing in bed, but I can surmise that they’re doing something wrong. Because as a dude who likes women (and wants more than one-night-nookie), I can say that it’s always easier to get back together with someone than to get together with someone new. Plus, it’s significantly less exhausting. But I digress….

Ladies, this flick is definitely for you. It has the sweet / sensitive / good-looking guy (if you like Kutcher, that is) who wants to commit chasing after the chick who’s emotionally damaged and unwilling to give herself to the guy – even though she technically already has. Plus, you get a butt shot of Kutcher.

Men: there’s no female nudity in this flick for you. Sorry.

To be totally honest, the story I was most interested in during this flick was the friend’s of Adam and Emma hooking up. In college we see that the guy friend of Adam (Eli is the character name) is a loser and unable to speak to the ladies, while Emma’s female friend Patrice is a typical sorority girl. When they meet again as adults, suddenly Patrice has calmed down and is looking for Mr Charming, and Eli fills that role well because, well, he’s never actually been a loser. Just a sweet guy that she overlooked.

I related to the Eli character, if you can’t tell.

So in summary, after all my ranting has been put to rest, the movie is sweet and cute and funny, but predictable – which shouldn’t imply it’s not enjoyable. Definitely worth a rental.