2011_no_strings_attached_movie_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

It’s nice to see a film with good role reversals, especially when it comes to relationships.  More often than not, women get so caught up in the feel of a relationship,  that we don’t really pay attention to whether or not we should even be with the man. The same goes for ­ quite a few men.  But, women have their fair share.
In No Strings Attached, Ashton Kutcher’s Adam gets to see how it feels to be on the receiving end of an emotionally unavailable mate, in Natalie Portman’s Emma.  Emma is the type of career woman who is so busy toiling long hours as a doctor she doesn’t even bother with trying to have a relationship.  She convinces herself that all she needs from a man is a quick romp in the bed and she’s good to go.

Of course, this is a romantic comedy, so Emma will not remain the emotionally detached doctor she is at the start of the film.  There is growth.  Thanks to screenwriter Elizabeth Meriwether (with story by Meriwether and Michael Samonek) for reversing the traditional roles of relationships.  In this reversal, the women are the ones having fun in the bedroom and the men are the ones hopelessly, romantically, unflinchingly waiting for their women to settle down and want to be with them. 

But, it’s not just the role reversal of this film that makes it so spectacular.  As my best friend Lola puts it: it’s real.  The conversations are real.  The people are real.  The situations are real.  Nothing is perfect or textbook.  Just when you think you’ve got the whole film figured out, Meriwether, with help from director Ivan Reitman, changes the dynamic and makes the film even more interesting.

Another great facet of No Strings Attached is the comedy.  It’s not idiotic, fart jokes funny.  It’s situation comedy; which is usually reserved for television sitcoms.  So, imagine my surprise that No Strings Attached isn’t the typical romantic comedy with a ditzy lead actress, it has substance.

Speaking of substance, a lot of people were worried that Portman’s appearance in this film might hurt her chances at an Oscar nomination for her Black Swan performance because of No String's lightness.  I beg to differ.  Portman shows range.  Heck, Portman lets loose and becomes likable.  I have a new found respect for her now that I see she’s not as uptight as she appeared.

Kutcher’s performance also redeems him from that misfire known as Killers.  I won’t even mention the mediocre and implausible plot of that film.  I will mention, however, that Kutcher should see himself in front of the camera more often.

Another talent who really needs to fall in love with the camera is rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.  His Wallace’s dead pan comedy shows me that Luda can do more than make great and inventive rhymes about getting naked with your sweetie.  Usually Luda finds himself in front of the camera in a drama, but, I like him in comedy.  He just needs to relax more and not focus too much on getting it right.  It was obvious he was trying a little too hard to get his character on point.

While I am still a die-hard fan of a good romantic comedy, just like I sometimes read those bodice ripper novels for kicks and giggles, substance always wins.  I’m glad Meriwether and Reitman saw the light – women are smarter than that! 

So, ladies and gentleman, please grab your significant other or best gal pal and see No Strings Attached.  There’s something for everyone; sex, love, feelings, and great comedy.  It’s the perfect third date film.

Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com.