Who's In It: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins, Woody Harrelson, Andy Samberg
The Basics: Dylan (Timberlake) is a hot young art director at a hip magazine in Los Angeles. His head is hunted by headhunter Jamie (Kunis) for the even-hipper GQ magazine in New York. When she shows him how magnificent New York can be, he switches coasts and continues to hang out with her (even though this has to be breaking some kind of headhunting ethics rule). Together they decide that since they are disillusioned with relationships, they should just have beautiful-people sex without emotional attachment. But here's the shocker: Real life manages to creep in and ruin everything.
What's The Deal: This entire movie consists of flash mob references and two different kinds of pantslessness: the awkward kind (thanks, Richard Jenkins), and the sexy kind (credit to our main stars). If you want to see Timberlake and Kunis horizontal in various stages of undress, they do it for the majority of the film here, so there you have it. Although no one's complaining about the filmmakers' artistic choices in that respect, the tone of the movie was perplexing. Director Will Gluck last took on Easy A, which is one of my favorite movies of 2010. This one felt like it was trying too hard to duplicate the charming snark of that movie. None of the parts formed into a cohesive whole. If I was in a "friends with benefits" relationship with this movie, I would sneak out the minute he fell asleep and then make excuses to miss his calls. Then I would go search craigslist for something that made sense.
The Weirder Choices: When Dylan first arrives in New York and Jamie is selling him on the city, his well-dressed, sharp demeanor falls away to reveal a babe in the woods. Hey Dylan--on paper, L.A. is not that different from New York. We have street performers and tall buildings too, remember? He's lucky he is so good looking, because otherwise Jamie would have written him off for acting like he had never been outdoors in a major city before. Another odd part of the script is Woody Harrelson's gay character Tommy. He gets kudos for bringing something relatively non-stereotypical to the table, because Tommy is a sports editor at GQ who jokingly hits on guys while they're all playing basketball together. That's great, but Tommy being this random, boat-driving magical gay doesn't gel with the rest of the movie. There is a half-baked ongoing joke with Shaun White trying to fight Dylan (or at least, I think), which single-handedly proves that snowboarders should never take on former members of N'Sync under any circumstances. I could continue, but for the sake of my word count, I will just say that all of these quirky details felt like independent pieces crammed together for the sake of edginess.
Why I Would Watch This On Cable: Two gorgeous, talented people have fun together onscreen, and they're mostly naked. Kunis and Timberlake really seem like best friends and light up the screen, so that makes the movie work on some level. In the end, I enjoyed this movie's twin No Strings Attached much more, whose script wasn't so desperate to raise eyebrows.
P.S. Did I mention that Patricia Clarkson uses the phrase "slam piece" to describe what Dylan is to Jamie? I was just as delightfully horrified hearing it in this movie as I was when I first heard the phrase from my bestie Boozy Suzy during a game of Jenga (she won).