Having sex with your best friend is so hot right now

Tuesday November 9th 2010

While 1998 had meteors, 2006 had magicians and last year had mall cops, this year’s big thing is the slightly more niche genre of ‘films where two best friends decide to have sex with each other and eventually fall in love after pretending they were only having a casual relationship’. Let’s meet our contenders:

No Strings Attached (trailer) is the new one from Beethoven producer Ivan Reitman, which immediately puts it in dangerous territory (his last film was My Super Ex-Girlfriend). On the plus side, it looks about 1000 times more subtle than you’d expect and Ashton Kutcher’s wardrobe is more jazzy than ever.

Friends with Benefits (trailer) is directed by Will Gluck of Easy A fame and seems eager to present itself as the more ‘edgy’ of the two movies, possibly at the expense of actually being any good. It’s also loaded with post-modern references to the romantic comedy genre itself, which could go either way really.

No Strings Attached 1 Friends with Benefits 0

As much as I want to like Ashton Kutcher (he seems like a very nice man), I’m not going to pretend that he’s the world’s greatest actor. He’s already appeared in two of this year’s shittest movies (Valentine’s Day, Killers) and although he seems vaguely likable in this, you never can tell with the Kutch.

JT on the other hand, is genius incarnate as far as I’m concerned. Fresh from his scene-stealing performance in The Social Network, the ‘SexyBack hitmaker’ looks set to tear shit apart when he gets his romcom flex on for the first time. And get ready for some ironyLOLs when he does the old ‘comical singing’ routine.

No Strings Attached 1 Friends with Benefits 1

Natalie Portman isn’t exactly the first name in sex comedy (although I still haven’t seen Mr. Magorium) and it’s slightly hard to take her seriously when she does the whole ‘sassy mama’ thing in the trailer, but against Kutcher she could always shine by comparison.

On-screen rivalry transfers to the real world as Portman’s Black Swan co-star takes the leading role in FWB. As in Aronofsky’s movie, Kunis is much better suited to sexually frank roles, and should have no trouble raunching it up with Timberlake. Speaking of which…

No Strings Attached 1 – Friends with Benefits 2

Despite a seemingly innocuous trailer (complete with some twee-er than twee romcom moments), No Strings Attached is apparently pretty filthy when it – quite literally – comes down to it. Give it two weeks and they’ll stick out a Red Band version with all the actual funny bits in it.

Friends with Benefits, on the other hand, has gone straight for the Red Band – although you’d barely notice to watch it. Basically what we get is a few seconds of bizarrely obstructed nudity and then a comedy swearing montage for the big finale. What is this, The King’s Speech?

No Strings Attached 2 – Friends with Benefits 2

Ludacris knows a good shirt when he sees one, but it’s the guy on the left who gets all the HILARIOUS lines when Kutcher meets up with his guy friends to do guy stuff with the guys.

Timberlake only has one man-friend, but it is Woody fucking Harrelson so I think we all know who’s won this round.

No Strings Attached 2 – Friends with Benefits 3


There’s a fight outside an art gallery, some funny business inside a storage closet and at least two jokes about porn, but it never gets quirkier than the moment when Kutcher unveils his bouquet of carrots. I can only imagine the hilarious set-up that led to that punch line.

Benefits… has a more streamlined quirk supply, most of which comes from Patricia Clarkson doing her wacky Patricia Clarkson schtick as Mila Kunis’ mother. Apparently Emma Stone pops up at one point too though, which could certainly up the kook average.

No Strings Attached 3 – Friends with Benefits 3

No Strings Attached features Greta Gerwig.

Friends with Benefits does not feature Greta Gerwig.

No Strings Attached takes it!