Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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No Strings Attached

Film #225


A guy and girl try to keep their relationship strictly physical, but it’s not long before they learn that they want something more.

Year 1, Day 222

BEFORE: No Strings Attached closes out the first week of the romance chain. This was the first of two films (the other being Friends with Benefits) with similar stories (much like The Illusionist and The Prestige were both films about magic released around the same time). It seems like a very formulaic and standard romantic comedy but there have been precedents where I’ve enjoyed standard template films. Let’s see how No Strings Attached plays out.

AFTER: Shocked would be the word that best describes my reaction to this film. And in case there’s any confusion, this is not a good form of shocked. There was almost nothing to like about this film and the reason I find that shocking is Ivan Reitman directed it. Reitman is probably better known for directing films like Meatballs, Stripes, and most famously, Ghostbusters. While there was no reason to expect the styles to be the same (the stories are quite different), No Strings Attached fails on writing, acting, and just overall entertainment.

Comedy is a tricky genre because jokes are very subjective. The same joke can make some people die of laughter and others can leave you sitting there with not even a smirk come across your face. It all depends on context, delivery, and subject matter among other things. With No Strings Attached, the writing is so ridiculous that it borders on the absurd. The jokes don’t come across as funny and even the characterization (which can provide another avenue for humor) is poor. Everything just feels forced and unnatural. Nothing flows together and whenever anything that is supposed to be funny is said it just ends up being a combination of weird and awkward.

Compound this with the horrific acting and you just have and equation for disaster. Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) not only do a horrible job individually (surprising for Portman, not so shocking for Kutcher) but their chemistry together is also subpar. This transcends the bad writing; this acting would be bad even with great writing. Words to describe these performances: awkward and ridiculous - just like the writing.

No Strings Attached had very few positives. The best joke was a reference to Rick Moranis (I’m not sure why I found that joke so funny) and a few other jokes warranted laughs. But when you throw in the rest of the film, there just isn’t that much to like about it. Some argument can be made for a so-bad-it’s-good film and in some ways that’s true. My recommendation therefore is to stay away from watching this unless you have a good reason to.

RATING: 2 out of 5