So what if I caved and watched this movie? I was flying AirFrance, I had 10 hours to kill, and it was one of the many convenient On Demand movies. (They didn’t even pay me to say that.) I’m well aware of my weakness for chick flicks, and this definitely fell under that category. But I was actually surprised at how many times I laughed (maybe it was the altitude) and how much I ended up liking this movie. I guess this bodes well for Friends with Benefits, which apparently is the same movie but with actors I enjoy more. Comparison to come.
So, Ashton Kutcher. Not my favorite person, but it’s hard to deny his charm. His look is that of a perpetual frat boy, which is not entirely his fault——baby-faced into your mid-thirties is just genetics——yet I actually found myself rooting for him in this film. He went after Natalie Portman’s character, who wasn’t so much likable as she was super-hot, so for all intents and purposes, I see why he did what he did. He turned his fuck buddy into his girlfriend, and that was that. Nice work. But that’s not why I liked the movie. What pleased me was (a) the surprisingly high proportion of foul language and (b) the fact that the female character was the one who screwed up. She was the one driving back to him in the rain, she was the one who lacked all shreds of sensitivity, she was the one making rational decisions. I realize that all of this is, of course, reducing men and women to very basic stereotypes, but I just can’t stand it when movies depict the dude being the one who “chases” the girl and “realizes what he did wrong” and all that. Sometimes girls fuck up, too. We don’t necessarily have the balls (literally) to go back and fix the mistake, either, but at least this movie gives us a nice pretty picture of what might happen if we did.
The supporting cast, however empty their roles were, was hilarious. Kevin Kline as Kutcher’s playboy dad? Love it. Mindy Kaling as Portman’s witty best friend? Yes please. Jake Johnson and Ludacris as Kutcher’s semi-level-headed best friends? Good call. And Lake Bell as Kutcher’s lusty co-worker? I cannot think of a better person to play that minuscule part. I only wish she had been on-screen more, displaying her talent at creating awkward moments for the whole world to see.
So there you have it. Either I’m a sucker for bad movies, or this one wasn’t actually that bad. After all, the woman who wrote it (Elizabeth Meriweather) also wrote the pilot for Zooey Deschanel’s new show, which doesn’t look half bad. She also, apparently, has a thing for Jake Johnson. More power to her.