After two viewings, I still really enjoy this year’s No Strings Attached by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Six Days Seven Nights). The film explores the changing dynamics between two charismatic, gorgeous people as their strictly-sexual relationship evolves. Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher as Emma and Adam were both great leading roles. It’s nice to see Kutcher in a rom-com that transcends the stupidity of Just Married and My Boss’s Daughter.
Eric Robinette agrees about Kutcher’s caliber of performance, “He’s absolutely fine in his part, even if he’ll never have chops as good as Portman’s. Still, he’s quite convincing when he does actually fall for Portman, and hey, who can blame the guy?”
Emma is a budding doctor that for reasons unknown doesn’t believe in two people falling in love and staying in love. She says she has an “emotional peanut allergy.” She has random run-ins with Adam since their first meeting at summer camp at the age 14. Adam has his own relationship problems with his hot European girlfriend choosing his wrinkly father (Kevin Kline) over him. For the film’s first half, the relationship between Kutcher and Portman did feel forced to me. But as their characters started to care for each other more it became real on the screen. I liked watching the evolution of their casual friendship into one of caring adoration.
Robinette agrees the chemistry increased as their relationship became more heated, “When Emma and on-again/off-again acquaintance Adam begin sleeping together, she suggests keeping it strictly sexual, and Adam is fine with that — but it’s clear from the beginning there’s more to these two than what goes on between the sheets — or between the water droplets or wherever they happen to be doing the deed.” Read his full review here.
The supporting cast was one of the best parts of the film. From Ludacris and Jake Johnson (Get Him to the Greek) as Adam’s best guy friends, to Olivia Thirlby (Juno) and Greta Gerwig (Greenberg) and Mindy Kaling (“The Office”) as Emma’s sister and best friends, the cast worked off each other perfectly. There was a natural razzing between the actors that made their characters that much more realistic. What I think tied the film’s characters together in the end was the modern and witty writing of Elizabeth Meriwether, which still managed to touch on the well-known themes of courting, affection, jealously.
The film poses the simple and very common question: Can two people have no strings attached sex without falling for the other? I know my answer.