Dylan (Justin Timberlake) is done with relationships. Jamie (Mila Kunis) decides to stop buying into the Hollywood cliches of true love. When the two become friends they decide to try something new and take advantage of their mutual attraction - but without any emotional attachment. Physical pleasure without the entanglements. Sounds easy enough for two logical adults, right? Not so much. They soon realise romantic comedy stereotypes might exist for a reason.
‘Friends With Benefits’ is the third romantic comedy with the casual-sex-between-friends trope right at the heels of ‘Love and Other Drugs’ and ‘No Strings Attached’. In ‘Friends With Benefits’ the hookup is between Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, fresh from their star turns in ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Black Swan’, respectively. Whereas the first two friends-with-benefits movies are too serious and shoddy with the storytelling, even the chemistry of its partners suspect, in ‘Friends With Benefits’, it mocks the rom-com world and even f—ck buddies system as well. Surprisingly, Timberlake and Kunis have undeniable chemistry, something you can’t bottle up and manufacture.
Director Will Gluck, returns to the rom-com universe now fortified with lots of sex and even nudity. In it, Mila Kunis is Jamie, a headhunter who has zoned in on Justin Timberlake’s Dylan, a web designer gunning for a job at GQ Magazine.
They meet at the airport and if this were a typical rom-com, it would be True Love. Jamie then convinces Dylan to move from LA to New York, in an effort to lure him to the prize job and get her bonus. Dylan then transplants himself to New York and as they get to know each other, they realize they’re two broken-hearted and horny people, so what the heck, let’s sleep together – a quickie here, a wrestle on the bed there – but, as friends.
The additional loveliness of ‘Friends With Benefits’ also comes from its script, Jamie and Dylan’s rapid-fire banter is hilarious at its dry wit and sarcasm. The supporting cast which includes Patricia Clarkson as Jamie’s hippie-groupie-sex-starved mother, Woody Harrelson as a gay sports editor at GQ, and small roles for Jason Segel and Rashida Jones as the stars of a rom-com flick Jamie and Dylan watch and mock, are delights.