Following No Strings Attached, a well-tread conceit gets more snappy gloss as BFFs turn fuckbuddies, subject matter perfected by Seinfeld back in 1991. Writer and director Gluck plays self-consciously with the clichés and conventions of the buddy romp-com format, updating it for the social networking generation with Kindles, flashmobs and oaths made over Bible apps.
The pair of “emotionally damaged”, yet glam and fit career climbers indulge in surprisingly funny banter, carried by a sassy, savvy Kunis, with Timberlake’s West Coast innocence and shiny chest acting as the perfect foil. It’s all complemented by scene-stealing turns from Patricia Clarkson as Kunis’ alcoholic mother, a dignified Alzheimer-suffering Richard Jenkins and Timberlake’s gay sports editor Woody Harrelson.
Friends With Benefits | Directed by Will Gluck (USA 2011) with Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis. Opens September 8