Review: ‘No Strings Attached’ Has Plenty Of Strings Attached
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It’s fair to say that the state of the modern romantic-comedy is a dismal one. In the era of “Leap Year,” “The Ugly Truth” and “Confessions of a Shopaholic” – where the heroes and heroines behave in a way unrecognizable to actual human beings, the plots are interchangable and contrived, and the comedy, and indeed the romance, are nowhere to be found – it’s tempting to give the merely average likes of “Definitely Maybe” or “(500) Days of Summer” a pass, simply for having likable characters or a few interesting scenes.
Coming from a Black Listed, genuinely funny (and occasionally insightful) script from Diablo Cody pal Elizabeth Meriwether, and starring and produced by current belle-of-the-ball Natalie Portman, we originally had a glimmer of hope for “No Strings Attached.” Sure, himbo Ashton Kutcher was playing the male lead, and the long-off-his-game Ivan Reitman was directing, but a very solid supporting cast were in place behind Portman – with lowered expectations, maybe it’d provide a date movie that doesn’t make you want to cave in your own skull half way through? I mean, at least Katherine Heigl wasn’t in it, right?
Sadly, while the finished film is several rungs up the ladder from the very worst recent examples of the genre, it’s also quite a way off the not-even-very-high bar of the better recent rom-coms, let alone classics like “When Harry Met Sally” (an obvious inspiration). Rarely a truly unpleasant experience, but never a memorable one, it mostly feels beneath its talented cast, and doesn’t suggest anything close to a comeback for Reitman as he heads towards “Ghostbusters III“