Recently, I was watching a movie on Netflix and decided to write a blog about it. The movie is called Friends with Benefits and stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. I wasn’t expecting much from this movie but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Friends with Benefits is a movie about love, sex, and the social networking that has become a part of sex and love. I was pleasantly surprised when the movie turned out to be great (better than the 3 stars Netflix gave it) with humorous characters, a solid story-line, and a great cast of characters to keep the movie exciting. What is so likable about Friends with Benefits is the movies tendency to make fun of the genre of romantic movies.
In the film, Jamie Rellis (Mila Kunis) a plucky head hunter for a firm in New York recruits Dylan Harper (Justin Timberlake) to work for GQ Magazine. She convinces him to work for GQ by selling him on the city of New York and its lively lifestyle. Jamie is not afraid to take on any man and her character has energy and vibrancy. Knowing no one else in the city, Dylan quickly becomes platonic best friends with Jamie.
One night while they are watching Pretty Woman, Jamie and Dylan come to the conclusion that sex shouldn’t have to come with emotional attachment. As both feel the need to connect physically, they have several sexual trysts and become friends with benefits.
The director in the movie surmises that the characters and audience are sick of the romantic cliches found in romantic movies so he switches things up so our two main characters are having sex, but no love is apparent between them at this point in the movie. Secretly (or not so secretly) the director knows the audience adores the cliches that make romantic movies likable so he pokes fun at these cliches creating a bit of a raunchy romantic comedy. In the end, we still infer that Jamie and Dylan will be together.
I really felt the sex scenes in the movie were realistic to a real life couple having sex, as opposed to many fabricated sex scenes in the movies. It takes time for Jamie and Dylan to discover what the other likes in bed, and they aren’t shy about what they want because there are no romantic feelings between them so they won’t hurt each other’s feelings. They are also hilarious and relatable, one of my favorite lines was when Jamie told Dylan if he didn’t start shaving the stubble on his face she would stop shaving down there, and she was dead serious.
Dylan has never brought a girl home before and after Jamie’s boyfriend walks out on her, he invites Jamie to California where he and Jamie share a genuine night of passion unlike either of them has ever experienced before. The cutest part of the movie is when they show each other their tattoos and Dylan has a Harry Potter lightning bolt tattoo on his lower stomach – he is still a bit of nerd beneath the corporate adult and I think many people who enjoyed and grew up with Harry Potter would find the Harry Potter tattoo relatable to their generation.
Sadly, while Dylan develops feelings for Jamie, he tells his sister defensively, that he doesn’t care for Jamie romantically, that Jamie is only a friend, and that there is no real intimacy between them. Jamie is heart-broken overhearing this and leaves California for New York without offering any explanation of why she left.
Dylan wonders in New York why Jamie refuses to talk to him, and when they finally get in touch, Jamie reveals that she heard everything Dylan said to his sister and has no interest being with him. Even though the movie tries to make romantic comedies look dumb, we end up in the same place as we would in a typical romantic comedy, with the the big-screen couple separated from each other by their own stupidity. Despite the movies misrepresentation of typical romantic comedies you still feel yourself rooting for Jamie and Dylan to work their problems out and become a couple.
Later, Jamie discusses her relationship issues with her mother and Dylan with his pantsless father at the airport; in fact Dylan joins his dad and takes off his own pants and they sit in the airport restaurant, eating breakfast in their boxers. Dylan’s father suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, mistakenly thinks a woman in the airport is a woman he met in the Navy – the love his life whom he let go, and has always regretted the decision to leave. He cautions Dylan not to do the same in his life and if he has any chance of saving his love, Jamie, to go and find her now – and Dylan does.
I thoroughly recommend this movie as a naughty but light-hearted comedy to see with your friends or significant other. The characters are
funny and interesting and the topic of whether sexual trysts require intimacy and connection is a relevant question in today’s world. When so many women and men are just ‘hooking up’ with each other, can we really keep our emotions separate from our sex lives? Still, many women and men manage to have purely sexual relationships well, but I think the movie suggests that a friends with benefits relationship often turns into a real relationship, even if the movie does mock romantic movies to begin with.