No Strings Attached: Best Romantic Comedy Of Recent Memory

21 01 2011

It seems like Natalie Portman is taking a break from the dramatic, award-winning roles (Black Swan) and taking a trip to the lighter, funnier side, with films like Your Highness and this week’s No Strings Attached. Critics who may be worried about a romantic comedy role hurting Portman’s chances at Oscar gold…fear not. Here’s the breakdown:

Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) decide to start having sex, without the baggage of a relationship to slow them down. But when feelings start to run deeper and emotions start to run higher, their perfect “no strings attached” policy is jeopardized.

The Monkey: I’ll admit, even the above breakdown above sounds so over-done and predictable. But, surprisingly, No Strings Attached felt rather fresh and new. Perhaps it’s the slew of crappy romantic comedies that have clogged theatres the past year that helps No Strings Attached stand above the rest. More likely, though, it’s the amazing cast. Even the supporting cast rocks, delivering hilarious lines and acting as pitch-perfect foil characters that have more dimensionality than most movies’ main characters could even dream of. Kevin Kline as Adam’s rich and famous philandering dad; Greta Gerwig as Emma’s witty roommate; Lake Bell as Adam’s hysterical coworker (she nearly stole every scene she was in)…even Ludacris, Jake Johnson, Mindy Kaling and Olivia Thirlby brought so much character and energy to the screen, audiences couldn’t help but stay engaged.

The real star of the movie is Portman (which is really no surprise). It’s nice to see her in a comedic role and it’s nice to see her excel at it too. This girl is funny! But it’s more than just the humor; when it comes to the emotional scenes, Portman is right there, in the moment, believable and vulnerable. This is her movie, from start to finish, and audiences will enjoy the ride.

No Strings Attached is able to mirror Portman’s masterful balance of comedy and drama. The script is deftly written, mixing the laugh-out-loud moments with the tear-jerker moments in a way that feels natural and organic. Too often, romantic comedies fail because, simply, they try too hard. They try too hard for laughs, the go for the obvious gags and they try too hard for the tears, pulling audience heart-strings that are so desensitized by churned out rom/com slop. No Strings Attached manages to avoid the stereotypical pitfalls of the genre while still feelings familiar. No small feat.

The Weasel: Kutcher holds his own with Portman and the two have great chemistry (otherwise the film would have fallen apart), but after the credits role, he’s the last person on your mind. He’s outdone, not only by Portman, but by the stellar ensemble cast. He was competent as the leading man, and much better than some of his other films, but, unfortunately, competency just didn’t cut it, not with the level of talent No Strings Attached was working with.

Considering No Strings Attached is working within a genre that really has nothing new to offer, it was wonderfully entertaining, funny and heart-felt. It may not find a place in the pantheon of classic romantic comedies, but it will definitely find a place on my DVD shelf.

4 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Do you like Natalie Portman’s more humorous side? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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7 responses

21 01 2011
Cassandra Okamoto

LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD so I can watch it with Eric 🙂

21 01 2011
Dustin

I’ll definitely be buying this one! 🙂

21 01 2011
scarletsp1der

wow! quite the surprise! I wasn’t expecting this type of review/rating! I will probably wait for netflix still to watch it, but I am glad to know it wasn’t your average romcom. I actually was afraid that Kutcher would not be up to par (as usual). Nice review!!

21 01 2011
Dustin

I know! I was pleasantly surprised! 🙂

2 02 2011
Red Movie Review

Hi 🙂

What was the top as well as the worst film of the year 2010 in your oppinion? For me it might have to be:

Best: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Worst: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Cheers 🙂 ❤

3 02 2011
Dustin

Hmm…I’d have to say the best was ‘Inception’ and the worst was ‘You Again’. Thanks for commenting!

8 02 2011
movie search

Elizabeth Meriwether wrote a great screenplay for No Strings Attached.
Natalie Portman & Ashton Kutcher were great too

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