But it started out so well…
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Written by: Elizabeth Meriwether
Starring:Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Kline
No Strings Attachedis the way I see most relationships, and most romantic comedies – not so much in its story, but in the structure. In the beginning there’s a sense of carefree fun and nothing too serious. But while you may become increasingly involved (and get closer and closer to admitting you’re in love?!), all of this slowly fizzles out into something rather corny, rushed, dull and disappointing. Call me a cynic, but I am yet to experience something different to this structure – in both personal relationships and romantic comedies.
It seems strange that a modern rom-com hasn’t taken on a story about fuck-buddies, the way No Strings Attached does. Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher) continue to bump into each other at different stages of their life, feeling an undeniable attraction to each other but never really daring to see where it will go. When they finally give in and have sex with each other, it seems inevitable that it turns into a trend. But whether this pattern will end horribly, or a new proper relationship will formulate start to raise some anxieties between the couple that risk permanent separation or… marriage?
There was a lot of room for an interesting plotline (or even a twist) in No Strings Attached, but like many of the other rom-coms that fail to leave memorable impressions on us, the film chose to rush its ending towards corniness, predictability and an overdose of what our modern-day society thinks of romance. It wasn’t all bad though. Like most failed relationships, you can look back on No Strings Attached and take consolation in the fact that the first half of the film was actually very enjoyable. The comedy was light, but did it’s job. The characters were engaging and there was a lot more happening, even though we were nowhere near the climax. The closer the film gets to the end, however, the more serious it becomes and well… kind of annoying.
Put it this way – No Strings Attached is one of the better flings you can have with the romantic comedy genre. It isn’t completely brainless or unbearable to watch, but it disappoints in the fact that its originality is completely wasted on conventionality when it could have said something a lot more provocative about relationships set in our contemporary context (not just flashing an iPhone every now and then, and making a joke about Facebook walls). It’s best to shelve this one next to all the other rom-coms that we’ve come so close to falling in love with.