No Strings Attached
I think I’ve made my feelings on Natalie Portman fairly clear. They’re pretty much the only reason why I went to see No Strings Attached, especially after Black Swan left me a little too nauseous to be truly appreciative. But I’m guessing that very few people are interested in me simply ‘reviewing’ Natalie Portman and would prefer to know something about the film. Well, put politely, one is quite a lot better than the other.
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with No Strings Attached. I’ve got no real problem with Ashton Kutcher, although I’ve often found the term ‘acting’ to be grating with him; he seems to simply be playing Ashton Kutcher in fractionally different scenarios. Indeed the whole cast of the film are interesting. Kevin Kline is underused but still effective and there are interesting sidelines from mumblecore muse Greta Gerwig and Brit tottie Ophelia Lovibond. So why does the film fall a little flat? Because it’s way too sweet to nail the gross out humour of the Apatow films but too frisky to appeal to the audience that really wants it.
Portman, in particular, seems to be having fun in the sort of role she doesn’t much get to play any more. But the film squanders a wonderful flashback opening by pining to a sense of post-modern gender equality with total shamelessness. It’s funny when teenagers just want sex, but if you can’t progress that notion through the course of your story then you’re going to hit some traffic lights and, despite some genuinely funny and touching moments, this is precisely what happens.
It’s becoming a cliché of mine in relation to romantic comedies but, once again, this is a missed opportunity. Natalie is squandered.