Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 4
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

CAN PLATONIC TURN TO ROMANTIC?: Emma (Natalie Portman, right) and Adam (Ashton Kutchner), who have known each other since they were teenagers together in summer camp, are finding out that what started as a strictly sexual relationship with no emotional involvements, may be developing into a romantic liaison that may even lead to matrimony.

No Strings Attached: Platonic Friends Hook Up in Crude Romantic Comedy

Kam Williams

Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) have been close ever since they forged an enduring friendship at sleep-away summer camp as adolescents. Back then, she was the shoulder he leaned on during his parents’ divorce, although she did rebuff his advances when he attempted to make an awkward pass.

Emma politely explained that she just wasn’t an affectionate person since she believed that, “People aren’t meant to be together.” So, it’s no surprise that their relationship remained platonic through high school, college, and the beginnings of their professional careers.

Currently, they are both living in Los Angeles, where Emma’s been putting in 80 hour weeks as a resident at Westwood Teaching Hospital. Always on call, the very busy doctor simply doesn’t have the time to date, even if she were inclined. Adam is an aspiring scriptwriter who is employed by a Hollywood studio.

The plot thickens soon after he’s dumped by his girlfriend, Vanessa (Ophelia Lovibond), who leaves him for his famous father, Alvin Franklin (Kevin Kline), the star of a hit TV show called Great Scott!

Despondent about the breakup, Adam goes to his favorite bar where he cries in his beer because he is stuck in his father’s shadow. On the advice of his friend, and street-smart bartender (Ludacris), he decides to contact every female whose number he has stored in his cell phone. One woman finally invites him over, and the next day, he awakens hung over in an unfamiliar apartment, with no memory of what had happened, and with whom. To his surprise he finds out that he’s at Emma’s place, and even more surprising, she’s lays down the ground rules, which are that they’ll “just use each other for sex at all hours of the day and night, nothing else!”

Can two lifelong friends suddenly start sleeping together without developing deeper feelings? That is the question posed by No Strings Attached, a romantic comedy from the legendary Ivan Reitman, director of Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), and Twins (1988). In this film, instead of following the genre’s familiar formula where the stars remain chaste until they’re ready to ride off together into the proverbial sunset, the question is whether love will blossom after they having already had sex together.

A major flaw in No Strings Attached, is the coarse brand of humor that seems to be designed to shock the audience. Some examples are the word “WHORE” printed on the back of the panties of a college coed at a pajama party, an Asian stagehand (Matthew Moy) who inexplicably exposes himself to young actresses on a set, and an East Indian physician, (Mindy Kaling), who refers to herself and her colleagues as “dirty, dirty sluts.” Every joke is cruder than last and they all fail to make the audience laugh.

Poor (0 stars). Rated R for sexuality, profanity, and drug use. Running time: 110 minutes. Distributor: Paramount Pictures

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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