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Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friends with Benefits


Friends with Benefits, directed by Will Gluck and starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, did not soar above the usual grade of romantic comedy. Was it funny? Very much. Was the romance satisfying? Generally, but nothing spectacular. Did it have some fun with the usual stereotypes? Certainly. But it did manage one thing that took it up a notch in my book: slightly more realistic sex scenes.

Moving past the fact that I prefer to see a romantic couple adhere to a more moral standard of sexual conduct, once the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine, Dylan and Jamie, begins, some of the movie’s best humor springs forth. Aside from the fact that both frantically deny the fact that it’s anything more than just two friends meeting each other’s sexual desires, the play off of real life issues in the bedroom provides the most fun. Dylan and Jamie’s blatant honesty with each other is refreshing and relatable. If she had known they were going to have sex, she would have shaved her legs. She’ll just have to deal with the fact that he always keeps his socks on during sex since he has intimacy issues. Later, she chews him out for not shaving his face because it’s scratchy and has to instruct him on where to touch her. Her mother even walks in on them at one point.

But the nicest part is that nothing is perfect. They have to learn about each other as real people do. They don’t just get everything right the first go like most movie couples. They drive each other crazy sometimes but also enriched each other’s lives. Since they are friends first and have sex with “no strings attached,” they feel freer to be themselves in all their craziness, weirdness, and tenderness. And that is wonderfully refreshing to see. If felt more real than usual.

There are also some touching family elements. Jamie’s mother reveals herself as far more reckless and wild than her daughter but in a sweet and funny way. Dylan’s father has Alzheimer’s, something he and his family struggle to deal with. He often takes off his pants because he doesn’t like them anymore. Toward the end of the movie, it’s a heartwarming moment when Dylan’s father discards his pants in the middle of a restaurant and Dylan, to make him feel like everything is okay, follows suit. The two have the best talk they have in the entire movie after and the one that shows Dylan what he needs to do to get Jamie back.

For those of you who have seen Friends with Benefits, what did you think? For all, what romantic comedies do you enjoy most? Do you like sex scenes that are more realistic or ones that are picture perfect?

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