Blatantly mawkish and manipulative
No Strings Attached
Direction: Ivan Reitman
Cast: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher
Rating: ** 1/2
Remember When Harry Met Sally…, the 1989 romantic comedy about the ups and downs of platonic friendship? In a neat reversal of that film's premise, director Reitman, whose work ranges from the appealing (Ghostbusters) to the appalling (Evolution), considers whether a couple can maintain a long-standing physical relationship without any sort of emotional commitment.
Blatantly mawkish and manipulative, No Strings Attached showcases the ultra-glam Natalie Portman as a doctor attempting to cope with the pressures of her 80-hours-a-week workload at a Los Angeles hospital.
After several chance encounters over a fifteen year period, she finally gets down and dirty with an aspiring TV writer (Kutcher, bland as ever).
You know what that means. The bedfellows alternately prance around the city's trendy locations and indulge in montage-heavy fun 'n' frolic between the sheets. You don't have to be a soothsayer to predict if their on-again-off-again affair will culminate in the inevitable march up the aisle.
To be taken with a sack full of salt, the screenplay is littered with dialogue that is more puerile than punchy. The comic skills of Kevin Kline are wasted in the inconsequential role of a former sitcom star.
It's left to the glossy production values to generate some stray likeable moments in this Valentine matinee fluff.