Sunday, February 13, 2011

#58: No Strings Attached

I find it remarkable that Jason Reitman who has written and directed delightful movies like Up in the Air, Thank You For Smoking and Juno is the son of Ivan Reitman - who is better known for his average comedies. If you consider their contrasting movies, Jason Reitman is actually a clear case of a sequel being better than the original in real life.

Where Ivan Reitman surely deserves praise is his role as a producer in Hollywood. Again, he has not made any groundbreaking movies with his production house outside of Up in the Air but it is nice to see someone taking over the challenging mantle of being a producer after beginning as a director. I say this because at his age he really should give up as a director. Because his last two movies were the passable My Super-Ex Girlfriend and Evolution and his latest release of No Strings Attached is yet another shining example of his mediocrity.

It has one of the most random beginnings - that spans 15 years in 10 minutes during which the lead characters Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) meet thrice. There is no apparent connection and yet in their fourth meeting they end up having sex. Emma is an unemotional but intelligent doctor while Adam is a struggling script writer. For no rhyme or reason they conveniently decide to be sex friends. Adam's dad Alvin (Kevin Kline) meanwhile hooks up with Adam's-ex and that becomes a source of major grief for Adam. While his sex with Emma is going great, Adam does see a future with her without being explicit about it. Emma, on the other hand, sees no reason to take her sexual liaison with Adam to another level. How they reconcile this difference is the central plot of No Strings Attached.

It is a plot that conjures itself out of thin air and struggles to keep pace with itself in spite of the liberties it takes. Kevin Kline is a joke in the movie and it was stupid on his part to take on this facetious role. A man who was a part of a classic such as A Fish Called Wanda should've known better. Ashton Kutcher is nothing more than a robot who can't emote to save his life. Natalie Portman is the only sight of relief in this movie that fails to get any laugh-out-loud moments going in what is a supposed to be a comedy. The story is as flat and predictable as it could get. You'll find it harder to predict second Saturdays in a month.

For the clumsy effort that it is, No Strings Attached deserves to be denounced no-holds-barred. Shut off the projector, bring down the curtain and close the entry gates to the screens that is showing the movie. Don't be lured by Natalie Portman's perfectly curvy legs in the promotional poster- it's an example of how one should never judge a movie by it's poster. This is nothing more than a tale that is as uninspiring as insipid. Use it as a pill if you have trouble sleeping at night - nothing more, nothing less.

Rating: 3.5/10

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