No Strings Attached


They say January/February is the time of the year where movies are sent to die.  Studios will often shelve projects that don’t test well until then, since audiences tend to not go to movies in that time frame.  This creates a double-edged sword for romantic comedies.  On the one hand, studios want to take advantage of Valentine’s Day to boost interest; on the other, studios have to find a place for the stinkers.  That is what happened last year with Ashton Kutcher’s last attempt at a romantic comedy, Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately, the movie bombed because it tried to hard to be like Love Actually, only without the interesting stories.

Fast forward a year and we find him trying again, this time with Natalie Portman.  The story is fairly simple: two people meet at different times over the years; they start having sex; and then love gets in the way…

Wait a sec – I’m not reviewing a DVD of When Harry Met Sally…

Sadly, the story is predictable; about the only thing that makes the movie worth watching is the charm of Portman and Kutcher.  There are moments where you can tell they are having fun with the roles and that translates well onscreen.  Cary Elwes is wasted in a supporting role as a doctor at Portman’s hospital.  Kevin Kline does well with what he is given as Kutcher’s dad, but it feels like he has done it before.  The rest of the cast is does well with what it has, but many of their parts feel like they could have been played by anyone.

What was interesting for me was when the movie had me reflecting on one of my early relationships.  Of course, if she is reading this, I will pay for the following paragraph.  There comes the predictable point in the movie where Portman’s character calls things off.  Soon after, she decides that she wants back in, but Kutcher summons his male pride and says no.  Of course this is how my relationship ended: she broke up with me; wanted back in; and I refused due to hurt feelings and pride.  Of course, I did not have Ivan Reitman directing my love life, so as you can imagine there was no happy ending for me or the girlfriend involved.  Portman and Kutcher faired much better – shocker.

My advice: see it at the dollar theater or matinee; if you need a date movie, it is serviceable, but not ideal…

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