Lindsay: Friends With Benefits is a film directed by Will Gluck, director of the very similar Easy A. Comparing the two becomes inevitable as both movies try desperately hard to let the viewer know they are very much aware of the genre their film is supposed to fit into. Both Easy A and Friends With Benefits make it a point to discuss their teen and romantic comedy counterparts as much as they can. Easy A seems to want to pay homage to the great 80s teen comedies. Even though it denies the world in the movie to not be like ‘a John Hughes movie,’ it ultimately buys into it. But in Friends With Benefits, the characters vilify romantic comedies at every turn, even watching a film filled with romcom hyperbole and remarking on how stupid it is. But of course, in the end, the film plays into what it’s denying, maybe to say “oh but of course that’s what we really wanted anyways” even though they convince everyone how stupid it is 10 seconds earlier. It just bothers me that the movie would spend so much time griping about cliches, making the audience laugh about it, and then let us know that it’s ok to still love the cheesy stuff. Pick a side! It doesn’t make you seem cool or better just for acknowledging that you’re aware your movie has been made 3000 times before.
Anyway, that’s really the only gripe I had about the film. The leads are really likable, and there are some fun moments for the majority of the run time. But the cherry of this movie is Richard Jenkins, who as always, elevates the film, with a beautiful and seemingly effortless performance.
Jessica: Friends with Benefits could be a really shitty movie, however, with these two leads I think that would be impossible! I found myself enjoying most of the movie, and thought that the self-referential bits worked for the most part. I see what Lindsay is saying about poking fun at romcom’s generic material and then basically falling into the same category by the end, but I just saw it as the two characters fighting against the stereotype only to find themselves inevitably within the same construct. The story did go in several different directions than I was expecting and came together in way that was fitfully corny. There are definitely some raunchy scenes that were really fun to watch and were comedic and sexy at the same time. The soundtrack is gloriously pop almost to the point of annoyance but whatever. I didn’t see No Strings Attached, but just based on the trailer and reactions it seems like much more of a chick flick than FWB. If you were a fan of the tone and humor in Easy A then you will probably be really into this movie as well.