Today: April 18, 2024
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No Strings Attached

If the inclusion of Natalie Portman and Ghostbusters director Ivan
Reitman has convinced anyone No Strings Attached will be of a higher
calibre than the usual rom-com schlock helmed by the likes of Kate
Hudson and Matthew McConaughey are going to be sorely disappointed.
While it may feature some slightly raunchy (for mainstream American
cinema) sex scenes and sex-based conversations between friends of the
Sex and the City variety, No Strings Attached is just another rom-com
with paper thin characters, no belly laughs and an obvious, clichéd
ending.

Emma (Portman) and Adam’s (Kutcher) relationship
starts 20 years ago at summer camp as she tries to comfort him as he
comes to terms with his parent’s divorce. It’s here where the main
characteristics of the couple are lazily established; she doesn’t ‘do
hugs’ or believe in one perfect partner while he still believes in love
despite being the product of a broken home. Some years later they bump
into each other and while Adam is getting wasted and cavorting around with his top off (Kutcher’s only talent),
she’s studying to become a doctor and shows up to a campus pyjama party
in long johns, seemingly to try and distract men from her obviously
stunning face. Because, y’know, it’s impossible to be both intelligent
and attractive to men.

Adam’s relationship with his father deteriorates further when he
starts dating the girl who dumped him and while looking to remove the
image of his dad sleeping with his ex from his brain, he calls every
woman in his phone for a night of emotionless sex. The next morning he
wakes up sans clothes and his memory in Emma’s flat. The two didn’t get
together that night but a brief bit of flirting results in a tryst that
is so enjoyable, they decide to continue doing it with no cuddling and
no feelings. Is it possible this’ll work out?

Of course not. It’s painfully obvious from the get go that the story will inevitably dove-tail into a pool of dull mundanity so
honestly, what’s the point? The most enjoyable aspect of a cinematic
love story may be the ride rather than the destination but it’s
impossible to become emotionally invested in such flat characters and a
tedious, well worn story. Annoyingly the producers probably think
they’re doing something revolutionary by having the woman be the
commitment-phobe as opposed to the man but while that may be somewhat
unique, the Emma character is painted as a heartless bitch while we weep
for Adam who’s rebuffed after professing his love in the most
embarrassingly awkward of situations.

Usually such formulaic fare can be forgotten if there are some laughs and lovable characters but alas, getting Kevin Kline to talk dirty simply doesn’t cut it.
It’s entirely devoid of comedy and the further it goes on it becomes
painfully clear that the audience simply aren’t going to get any. Why
Natalie Portman chose to do this after the all-conquering Black Swan is anyone’s guess but if movie-goers accept that this is the best the genre has to offer, they’ll never get what they and their cash truly deserves.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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