Can two attractive, intelligent, inherently nice people be sex friends? That is, can they use each other?s bodies any time, any place without falling in love?
That is the question posed by No Strings Attached, which features Natalie Portman as Emma, a brainy med-student who compares relationships to a peanut allergy. They make her sick. So she suggests that Adam, played by Ashton Kutcher, an affable television writer and her become sex buddies. Which means no breakfast the morning after, no snuggling, no sickening nicknames for each other. Just brisk business with no strings attached. Of course this arrangement isn?t going to work and before you know it, love in all its glorious messiness creeps in.
No Strings Attached was rated R in the US and started life with a title that included a four-letter word. But the final product is far less edgy and far more studio-manufactured than it should have been. The film is genial and watchable but it never takes any real risks.
So while it?s refreshing to see a woman with a healthy sexual appetite but an aversion to emotional commitment, from the minute you see Emma and Adam together you know exactly how it?s going to go. Each gets a set of friends who talk them through their various dilemmas and the film climaxes with the usual near-misses and misunderstanding that are the staple of romantic comedy.
Still No Strings Attached has enough fun and smart lines to keep you entertained. Natalie Portman is awkward and at first, seems like she is working too hard. But eventually she finds a nice rhythm and chemistry with Ashton Kutcher who is the real surprise here.
I?ve always thought of Kutcher as bland and somewhat vacuous but in No Strings Attached, he finds a real sweetness and charm.
If you?re in the mood for some easily palatable romance on Valentine?s Day, No Strings Attached will hit the spot. Check it out.