Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake's 'Friends with Benefits' rehashes the old friends-or-lovers dilemma, with predictable results.
Sony Screen Gems/Glen Wilson/AP
Can men and women be just friends, have sex together, and still keep it friendly? Variations on this earth-shattering theme have been wrought by movies as wildly disparate as “Last Tango in Paris” and “No Strings Attached.” Now we have the latest entry, “Friends With Benefits,” starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as the designated beneficiaries.
The answer to this question, at least in the movie world, is invariably a resounding “no.” Or maybe “duh!” Since it’s a foregone conclusion that the friends-only scenario is irreversibly complicated by sex, the only suspense in “Friends With Benefits” lies in observing how the characters finally realize something we knew all along.
They take an awfully long time to realize it. Timberlake’s Dylan is a hotshot Los Angeles media art director who is lured to a New York job as art director for GQ magazine by Kunis’s Jamie, a vivacious corporate headhunter. Even though Dylan is apparently savvy and worldly enough to have landed the job, he is inexplicably portrayed as something of a bumpkin from the sticks – as if L.A. was a cow town. He needs Jamie to show him the big-city ropes, and soon they agree to a friendship with whoopee on the side.