Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
There are a lot of ways to describe Natalie Portman. Dramatic? Check. Serious? Check. Funny? Oh yes. And you’ll surely agree with me after seeing the new comedy “No Strings Attached.”
At a swanky summer camp young Adam (Dylan Hayes) and Emma (Stefanie Scott) are sitting along the water. They share some small talk. Adam makes a request of Emma but is sadly rebuffed. Fifteen years, and a few chance meetings, later the two are now young professionals. Emma (Portman) is a doctor while Adam (Kutcher) is a production assistant on a “High School Musical” style television show. Adam hasn’t dated in some time , having broken it off with his latest girlfriend Vanessa (Ophilia Lovibond) eight months earlier. He visits his father, Alvin, who at one time was the star of a popular television show. But it’s hard for father to know best when it turns out he’s now spending his spare time with Vanessa! Obviously upset, Adam and Emma meet and banter and decide, at her urging, to become FWBs…Friends With Benefits. Or, as Emma explains it, she’s looking for someone she doesn’t have to lie to nor eat breakfast with!
A familiar story told with a twist, “No Strings Attached” marks a triumphant return behind the camera for director Ivan Reitman. Once the comedy master of the 1980s (“Stripes,” the “Ghostbusters” films) Reitman slowly faded out of sight while his young son, Jason, nabbed back to back Oscar nominations for directing “Juno” and “Up in the Air.” Nice to see the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree. Reitman’s always had a great eye for relationships surrounded by humor and he continues that reputation here. Both stars do a commendable job with a script that is not 100% sharp…a few scenes of does he love her or vice versa drag on much longer then necessary. Kutcher is his typical hang dog self while, as stated above, Portman is a true comedienne on screen. Hopefully she’ll add a few more performances like this one to her resume’ in the near future.