We know the story but it’s all topsy-turvy making it a little less ordinary. “No Strings Attached” is definitely bold, veering away from the typical rom-com path. While it takes its time to find its ground, with initial scenes reminiscent of movies like “A Lot Like Love”, it finally settles in quite comfortably in an almost hybrid zone.
Natalie Portman plays Emma, the commitment-phobic, emotionally challenged, medical resident so well that you almost wonder if that’s her actual character – fidgety, harsh and insensitive.
Lack of emotion doesn’t mean she doesn’t have physical needs. Coping with the eternal hours at the hospital, she needs the escape, without the complications of a relationship.
Her sexual retreat stumbles in, sloshed out of his mind and ready to strip willingly. It helps that Adam (Ashton Kutcher) is a childhood acquaintance who used to be into her. So they get down to business and lay down the ground rules but breaking all the rules in the bedroom. The family, friends and colleagues have active roles and are present throughout adding a whole lot of colour and humour.
Each actor has a definite role etched out with a steady hand. Right from Adam’s father, who is still reveling in his former sitcom glory, to an obsessive colleague to Emma’s room mates. Kutcher isn’t playing anyone new. He’s been there, done that and thankfully gotten better.
The dialogue is sharp and avoids mush, with witty lines woven into daily situations. The sex scenes belong here, because how else can you explain ‘no strings attached’ or ‘friends with benefits’. It’s crude no doubt, but it ultimately hits the spot you want. The relationship goes through turmoil and all is not perfect in paradise when Adam goes against the stereotype wanting more than ‘just sex’, but they deal with it.
The movie isn’t trying too hard or pretentious. In fact, it’s very close to relationships in this day and age embracing lust and sexuality. A refreshing take on the run of the mill rom-coms, it’s a new age date movie, and can make a good Valentine watch.