No Strings Attached Review

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

no strings attachedOk! so it's Valentines and it’s a time for doing something special for your lady. As part of my weekend of Valentines activities I decided to take my other half to see an advanced screening of No Strings Attached the latest Rom Com from Ivan Reitman, Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Kline.

No Strings Attached Trailer

Going in I didn’t know it was an Ivan Reitman film which is probably a good thing as I would have expected a lot more from the man who brought us; Meatballs, Stripes and err Ghost Busters. In my opinion Meatballs and Stripes although 30 years old are still 2 of the funniest films ever made. Clever, funny and doesn’t treat the audiences like idiots.

Natalie Portman still hot off her Black Swan performance which is way up there, mainly due to Darren Aronofsky’s tight direction. And Ashton Kutcher who must still be pleasing teenage girls with every role. Although charismatic enough to make me want him to get a role that he makes his own successfully he just hasn’t quite cracked the taken seriously market yet.

So what happens when you bring Ivan Reitman, Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher together for a Rom Com - well you are reminded just how brilliant Kevin Kline can be. In fact I wouldn’t have bothered to write this if Kevin Kline’s cameo wasn’t as good as it is and my other half enjoyed No Strings Attached.

The Rom Com genre is full of permutations of Boy loves Girl, complications ensure when Boy chases Girl. To make an impression you, really have to lift the film above the many, many variations out there. So how does Reitman do it? And does it work?

Well No Strings Attached’s hook is that it has a spin on character leads - they are complex. Secondary to this - watchable leads, a great supporting cast and is very well put together. Does it work? Read on.

No Strings Attached is about Natalie Portman’s Emma and Ashton Kutcher’s Adam and their sort of romance. Emma (Natalie Portman) is a Doctor and doesn’t have time for distractions as well as loads of intimacy issues relating to her father passing away and leaving a family of girls behind. Adam (Ashton Kutcher) is almost the complete opposite, a want to be writer he works in TV as an assistant. He lives in the shadow of his father Alvin (Kevin Kline) a successful TV actor; although a loving father his hedonistic lifestyle has broken the family and tarnished his and Adam’s relationship. The outcome of this is that Adam is pretty decent guy with his head screwed on correctly.

A chance meeting with a childhood friend Emma rekindles their friendship. Despite the title and the marketing trying to lead you to believe that the No Strings Attached approach is mutual - Adam is clearly smitten with Emma. Emma has no interest in a relationship and prefers commitment free convenience of having a partner willing to work around her schedule with no strings attached.

My issue with No Strings Attached is that well, as individually watchable and complex as the characters are - there is very little too keep you interested in the - will they won’t they get it together aspect at the heart of the story. Too be honest if the characters were in a vacuum they may have come across as complex and issued as issued as real people but they are presented in a Hollywood glossy way - which just makes them seem completely un-relatable or engaging. In fact I was wishing for a Love Story type twist half way through to lift the story out of the wishy washy mire. There are occasional flashes of funny that will have you laughing out loud - mainly in an attempt to justify why you haven't walked of the cinema yet.

Which brings me to the supporting cast – which I felt were a lot more engaging than the leads. Great support all round but stand out performances from Greta Gerwig as one of Emma’s medical roommates and Lake Bell as one of Adam’s TV colleagues who seems to be channeling Jonah Hill but is great. But it is Kevin Kline that steals the show as Adam’s father - in a role as comedic’ly as good as his Otto from a Fish Called Wanda. Having said all of the above my wife loved No Strings Attached - so maybe I’m not the target audience.

No Strings Attached will be in UK cinemas from Fri 25 February, 2011

no strings attached poster
No Strings Attached Poster
No Strings Attached Review

Director: Ivan Reitman
Writers: Elizabeth Meriwether & Michael Samonek
Stars: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher & Kevin Kline