It’s strange. I saw about 25 commercials and trailers for this movie and thought it would be horrible. I don’t think there was one funny scene in the trailers. Those low expectations made me find this a pleasant surprise. It’s far from a great comedy, but in the rom/com scale, it’s certainly not a bad time at the movies.
Natalie Portman, who the critics are loving in Black Swan, now gets to do a movie (and produce one) that will bring in a big paycheck. And the critics are going to ream her for it.
Once you can get past the ludicrous premise – and the fact that Ashton Kutcher’s best friend is Ludacris the rapper – it has enough humor that works.
There’s a scene where Kutcher shows up with cupcakes, even though he knows Portman and her roommates are all miserable (it’s that time of the month). If we didn’t like Kutcher’s character, it would’ve come across a bit stalkerish and weird. Instead, he was charming and the scene was fun.
When he shows up with a balloon that says “congratulations,” Portman is a bit bothered, as they had this “friends with benefits” arrangement that he doesn’t seem to be honoring properly. That scene became funny.
It’s also nice that the friends these two have are all actors I enjoy in other things, and they aren’t the typical drunk friend giving horrible advice.
Ludacris has some good lines. Greta Gerwig has gone from being an indie darling, to doing bigger mainstream films (she was great in Greenberg, I just didn’t like the movie).
Ophelia Lovibond is great as the gorgeous ex-girlfriend (is there a name and look for an actress that screams “future Bond girl” more than her?)
Mindy Kaling, who writes and stars in The Office, is great. I would’ve liked seeing more of her in this.
There’s a scene where she tries explaining to Portman how they’re going to go out and be slutty. She explains that aside from running out of her usual underwear and wearing a sexy bikini bottom, they were going to be like the guys in Sideways, except Portman was going to be Paul Giamatti, and she was going to be the “guy that got laid.”
So much of this movie is the clichéd stuff you’ve seen in so many other films of this ilk. The impersonations of celebrities (we get Drew Berrymore and Christopher Walken); the aging actor that was once a sitcom star and everyone shouts his catch phrase (we get Kevin Kline, and everyone saying “Great Scott!”). And there are about 10 more things, along with a predictable storyline you see coming from the beginning. Yet it’s all still entertaining (despite the fact that you never warm up to Portman’s character).
There’s great chemistry between all the actors and the writing isn’t bad. It’s a sloppy comedy, but I doubt you’ll be disappointed if you catch it.
Ivan Reitman directed Animal House, which I’d take over this (am I the only one that didn’t care for Ghostbusters?)
I’d recommend you rent The Extra Man with Kevin Kline from last year. Or if you’re craving a teen sex comedy, last year’s Easy A.
But this is the closest you’ll get to those movies, and it opens this weekend.
I’m giving it a C.