Friends With Benefits: Movie Review

Friends With Benefits

That wasn’t too thick was it? What can I say, I haven’t seen a worthwhile romcom in many moons, FWB was just what the doctor ordered. Timberlake transcended his entertainer persona (and no, I didn’t think his turn as Sean Parker in ‘The Social Network’ was good enough), Kunis graduated effortlessly from her stereotypical ‘looks for payoff’ roles. You could easily question whether the two could pass off believable onscreen chemistry before seeing the film, but once you see their give and take, you’ll feel like they were together for years prior to filming. Both Timberlake & Kunis petitioned the filmmakers to steer the film away from a ‘safe PG-13’ and tell a true ‘friends with benefits’ story that couldn’t possibly be contained in such a weak rating. Their gamble paid off. R for ‘reality’ not for nudity (although you do get a peek on both sides).

Cast and Crew of Friends With Benefits


  • Dylan Harper (Justin Timberlake)
  • Jamie Rellis (Mila Kunis)
  • Will Donner (Brian Greenberg)
  • Laney (Gemma Arterton)
  • Teddy Sanders (Patricia Clarkson)
  • Danny (Richard Jenkins)
  • Alison Harper (Jenna Elfman)


  • Director: Will Gluck
  • Writers: Will Gluck, Elizabeth Meriwether, Keith Merryman
  • Producers: Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck, Naomi Watts

Dylan (Timberlake) is a laid back west coast thriving online blogger who gets a shot at the big leagues of creativity in NYC through an executive headhunter Jamie (Kunis) based in the Big Apple. Both are jilted lovers who’ve sworn off caring for the opposite sex so it’s only natural they’d become fast friends as she shows him NYC life and he acclimates. The two figure they’ve seen every romantic comedy in the books on ‘friends with benefits’ fail miserably; but they would still somehow succeed at it…poor misguided souls. What follows is a series of hilarious and endearing moments as the two discover each other, their frailty and even the familial ties that make them the people they are and what makes them perfectly suited for each other.

We all know that’s the gist of every romantic comedy. The initial elation and sexual fun, the ultimate realization of a relationship, the conflict and struggle and then the 3rd act where they come together. What sets FWB apart, is it never drags or lags and each act of progression in the story is welcome and makes you practically giddy when it arrives. It’s filled with great 90’s tunes to take you back and just superb casting on the supporting side. Jenna Elfman (TV’s Greg & Dharma) portrays Dylan’s older sister and caretaker to their aging father played superbly by Richard Jenkins (HBO’s Six Feet Under). Woody Harrelson (White Men Can’t Jump) is uproarious as Tommy, the openly gay but shockingly straight sports editor at GQ who works with Dylan. Patricia Clarkson (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) is a tantalizing and tempting tease in every way. As Jamie’s mother Lorna, she’s a vivacious, outspoken, free love and completely space cased delight! I usually worry when a film has 3 or more writers, but in this case it may have been warranted. Interjected within the film is a ‘makeshift’ romantic comedy that Jamie & Dylan watch. It’s so painfully bad to watch that it’s actually funny and features great unbilled cameos from Rashida Jones (The Office) and Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother).

The only thing that struck me strange about this film (and even more so with the promos I see today), is what happened to the scenes from the early trailers involving Jamie’s mom Lorna? If you’re a trailer watcher like me, there was a great scene where Jamie walks in on her mother in bondage with a young male – it apparently didn’t make the final cut, but I bet it was a hilarious bit. Oh well, there’s always the extended BluRay…

Friends With Benefits Running Time: 109 minutes

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