Friends With Benefits

As I was sitting in the theater today I did what I do with most things in life, I found myself comparing Friends With Benefits to sports.

There is a reason that New York Yankees don't have Mariano Rivera pitch 7 innings every night. He may be one of the greatest talents in the world, but his niche is having someone else throw 7 or 8 innings and he comes in to finish off the masterpiece.

Mariano meet Justin, Justin meet Mariano. I think you two have more in common than one would think.

As I mentioned in my review of The Social Network (which, like all my other past reviews are available on the right side of your screen), I think Justin Timberlake is fantastic. I think he has more talent, in more areas than possibly anyone else on the planet. The Saturday Night Live shows he hosts are always outstanding, and he has had some fantastic cameo roles in some big time movies. But just like Mariano, he can't throw the whole game. He needs a crafty left-hander and a set-up man to make it work. He got that in this movie from Richard Jenkins and Woody Harrelson, but unfortunately there was not a C.C. Sabathia to be found.

Friends With Benefits is about a young man who is recruited for a job with GQ Magazine in New York City. When Dylan (Timberlake) heads east he finds a beautiful young head hunter named Jamie (Mila Kunis) waiting for him at JFK. The two immediately hit it off and become great friends. You'll never believe this, but when they decide to start having casual sex as friends, they begin to develop feelings for each other. I know, weird.

As the story develops it becomes quite clear that both of them have backgrounds that have made them less than desirable to the opposite sex. A drunken mother wandering in at the worst possible time, and a quick weekend trip back to L.A. only prove this point.

I have heard a lot of comparisons to No Strings Attached while discussing this movie. While I won't disagree with any that comparison, you can also compare to about eleventy billion other Hollywood rom-com's from over the years, which is perhaps what disappointed me most about this movie. It starts out as almost a spoof of that genre, and 1 Diet Coke and Popcorn later it turns into one. I was kept entertained throughout, but walked out of the theater wanting more.

Now let's just hope that Mariano Rivera doesn't come out to a Semisonic song in The Bronx anytime soon.

Friends With Benefits
Directed by: Will Gluck
Written by: Keith Merryman, David A. Newman, Will Gluck, and Harley Peyton
Starring: Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis
My Rating: 3 out of 5
Would Gene Pick it?: Yes

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