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Thursday
Jul212011

Movie Review: 'Friends with Benefits'

A.M.P.A.S./ABC via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There's a moment of doubt in Friends with Benefits and it came in the film’s opening moments. We see Justin Timberlake as Dylan, an art director for a blog, address his staff. An attempt to show Timberlake as affable, charming and funny feels more like a harbinger of doom: the scene comes off about as sincere as Rush Limbaugh reading a bedtime story to Nancy Pelosi.  Remarkably, Timberlake makes a Herculean recovery, proving to be, in fact, affable, charming and funny.
 
Dylan then flies to New York to meet Mila Kunis' Jamie, who Dylan will later describe as "fast-talking and brusque."  Jamie is a headhunter and believes Dylan to be a perfect fit as the new art director for GQ. Dylan's not so sure -- not about the job, about New York City.  The two bond when Jamie shows him the Big Apple including a quiet rooftop that is, Jamie claims, the only place in New York City where you can see the stars.  Jamie does her job and convinces Dylan to take the gig -- but of course, their relationship is about to become more personal.
 
After many nights of drinking, watching movies and going to parties, Jamie and Dylan decide to become sex partners, aka "friends with benefits," swearing on an iPad Bible app that there will be "no relationship, no emotions -- just sex. Whatever happens, we stay friends."  Predictably, just like in the recent film No Strings Attached, this promise is tested -- fortunately, in much funnier fashion.
 
Patricia Clarkson and Woody Harrelson both get big laughs as B-characters. Clarkson as Jamie's flaky, cougar mom and Harrelson as the macho gay sports editor of GQ. The dialogue occasionally gets a little too cute with pop culture references but ultimately, Friends with Benefits will win you over.  Timberlake and Kunis prove to be as funny as they are sexy.

Four out of five stars.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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