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Movie Review | Friends with Benefits

From its plot summary, Friends with Benefits sounds very similar to No Strings Attached, which came out in theaters this past January. From the posters, it looks like the only difference is that Justin Timberlake replaces Ashton Kutcher, and Mila Kunis stands in for Natalie Portman. The actual difference between the two movies, though, is that NSA was cute but not great, in my opinion, and FWB ended up being hilarious and a lot better than I thought it would be.

Jamie (Mila Kunis, “Black Swan”) is a headhunter who is looking to recruit Dylan (Justin Timberlake, “The Social Network”) to work as the art director for GQ in New York. He’s an LA boy, born and bred, and isn’t too keen on moving all the way across the country just for a job. Jamie shows him how fun NYC can be, however, and he decides to take the job. They become friends and one night, Jamie complains to him about how sometimes she misses sex, but she doesn’t want to start a relationship because that comes with consequences and “rules.” Jamie and Dylan decide to have a “friends with benefits” relationship, which includes sex but no attachments. The plan works well for a while until Jamie decides to break it off, and see what “real” guys are out there for her. Meanwhile, both of them end up being single for the July 4th weekend, and Dylan persuades Jamie to come to LA with him while he visits his dad and sister. The pair soon realizes that being “friends with benefits” is something that might not work for them after all, because they’re starting to fall for each other.

Timberlake and Kunis were great in this movie, and they had a lot more chemistry than Kutcher and Portman in NSA. The supporting characters were hilarious as well–Andy Samberg (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) and Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Timberlake and Kunis’s exes, Patricia Clarkson (“Easy A”) and Kunis’s crazy but well-meaning mom, and Jenna Elfman (“Love Hurts”) as Timberlake’s sister. Richard Jenkins (“Hall Pass”) has an interesting role as Timberlake’s father, who is in the early stages of Alzheimers, and there is a surprise cameo by two stars as actors in a rom-com movie that Kunis’s character likes. FWB juggles a few plots throughout its runtime, but it manages to tie them together seamlessly by the end of the film.

Yes, see this movie. The audience (including myself) were laughing at the majority of the jokes, and the movie overall was fresh and funny. I enjoyed Friends with Benefits a lot more than I enjoyed No Strings Attached, and there were major plot differences between the two as well; in FWB, Jamie didn’t originally know Dylan (she meets him when he comes to NYC for the GQ interview), rather than being friends who had known each other a long time like in NSA, and it’s the woman (Jamie) in this film who wants more out of the relationship, rather than the man (Ashton’s character) like in NSAFWB is a bit raunchier than NSA but there’s not any major nudity. The language wasn’t that bad either. If you are in the mood for a hilarious romantic comedy, you will do well in choosing to see Friends with Benefits.

Friends with Benefits is in theaters today, July 22nd.

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[author_info]About the Author

Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her own film blog, Yes/No Films, as well as The NYLA Report, FREEISMYLIFE, and the Detroit Examiner. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.



Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her film blog (Yes/No Films) and book blog (Books I Think You Should Read), as well as and CBS Detroit. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.


  1. Beauty

    February 17, 2012 at 10:57 am

    There have indeed been tons of movies out there like Friends with Benefits, so I’m told. I was also told out of all the movies that this is best one that anyone has seen in a long time. I haven’t seen Friends with Benefits but I heard it was really good as you can see. I just used Blockbuster @Home to get it a couple days ago and should be receiving it soon. I wanted to make sure that all my DISH co-workers were right about it being good. That is why I’m reading on some reviews. Now that everyone is saying that it is better than No Strings Attached I think it’s going to be great. I can’t wait!

    • Liz

      February 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

      I hope you enjoy it! :)

    • Crystal Paschal

      February 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      I saw both, and definitely liked Friends With Benefits much better than No Strings Attached. I think you’ll enjoy it!

  2. MaggiePI

    July 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Yes its rated R – There should be ones that say RG- for Ruanchy Gratuitous. Kids Teens love these movies with cross-over stars . I am 33 with 2 kids 3 and 5. How many teens between 15-17 have seen the Hangover movies, if you don’t think your kids or nephews and nieces are going to see R rated movies, especially when they come out in DVDs, rentals etc. you would most likely be mistaken. My older sister’s neice just had a jaw dropping experience because no matter how you police it and explain– if they are over a friends house who you trust and a friend of an older brother is in the basement watching these with other 17 & 18 year olds, and are laughing and talking about u got 2 c this movie to everyone, then peer pressure will reign and eventually they may end up seeing it- without mom or dad to explain the improprieties and intentions vs. reality to their own judgement and morals.
    I am personally bored with every comedian now thinks they have to show thier male junk to be a funny movie. Older generation said it was always mostly boob movies in the 70 and 80s. I’m not sure if full clear view male frontal exposure ( next it will be in 3D-yuck) is equality gone a rye. It’s boring to most aldults, but perhaps has shock but awkwardness funny for younger adults(immature)/ kids i.e. Hangover, Hall Pass, Sarah Marshall, and so on. The early something about Mary was shock- unexpected – very quick and funny for young adults and older. Hall Pass awkward long ( as in time) span 10 seconds just was dumb, not what a legal 17 R, especially on a date wants to see. I am no longer going to preview or see these movies.

  3. Prime Parents' Club

    July 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I was wondering what it was rated? Is it “R”?

    • Liz

      July 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

      Yes, it’s rated R, as was No Strings Attached.

  4. MaggiePI

    July 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Unimaginative Potty Humor Movie that just reversed and ripped off No Str Attached. The buig problem with this movie is it will drwaw in older teens who will draw in younger teens awkwardly with parents due to Justin mostly and Mila. The Tv clips look silly and funny. So if a parent was tpo read this sites only review it might seem ike it is ok.
    However, parents hopefully are informed that the growing trend the past 3-5 years among 30’s then twenty somethings noew high school and sorry to say middle school is this notion of fiends with benifits thing from music MTV, Videos, Social Networking,etc. don’t understand that in many if not most cases means friends with consequences , possible serious life altering consequences. No moral or emotional attachment to sex with on e person in itself can lead to problems but then leads to potentially other ‘unattached partners’ and so on. Cuddle buddies, FWB, boot calls what ever is not a cute thing. If you are mature you can see through this and differentiate your reality maybe enjoy the movie, but immature teens and even immature adults may not. That aside sorry a lot of untreal premises are corny unreal and body part humor and gratuitous butt shots etc.just don’t appeal to me. I enjoy comedy light romatic comedies and don’t mind sex scenes and language if it fits and not overdone. This movie just goes along with JTs and Milas grabbing and fondling award promo stunt just as he did with Janet at Super Bowl. What a seemingly innocent and nice $$ whore JT really is. He knows how to hook in the tweens, teens, moms and everything in between. Pretty clever.

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