My biggest fear about what this Rom Com would do to Natalie Portman’s chances for an Oscar nomination, or win, has been waylaid, she can do comedy with the same skills she displays in drama. In “No Strings Attached” she’s teamed with Ashton Kutcher, (or, as Ricky Gervais might refer to him, son of Bruce Willis) who shows an adept comedic skill as well. Ivan Reitman (“Stripes”, “Ghostbusters”) is at the helm, and brings his considerable winning track record to the proceedings. Adam ( Kutchner) and Emma (Portman) are are lifelong friends who, after having sex decide, mostly because of Emma’s fear of commitment, to make it a strictly “friends with benefits” arrangement ( watch for the upcoming romantic comedy, “Friends with Benefits”, featuring Justin Timberlake and Portman’s imagined bed mate in “Black Swan”, Mila Kunis, oh what a tangled web Hollywood weaves).
Reitman gets considerable mileage out of the supporting cast, including Emma’s friends Shira ( Mindy Kraling from “The Office”), Patrice (mumblecore darling Greta Gerwig), and also Olivia Thirlby (Juno) as Emma’s lovely, and in love, sister,Katie. Likewise, Adam’s pals include funny turns by rapper/actor Ludicris, and Jake Johnson.
Kevin Kline (who starred in Reitman’s “Dave”) shows up as Adam’s catchphrase spouting, sitcom starring, inappropriate Dad and is impressive both comically and physically ( Dude, what’s your secret?). This is definitely not for the prudish as it is a sex comedy, but it is a notch above what we have come to expect from the genre and an evening well spent.
My GPA: 3.2