Every now and then, a film pops up that pulls the wool over your eyes and pretends it isn’t trying to be Garden State. In some ways, No Strings Attached wants to be one of those films, but doesn’t even quite manage that.
Whilst looking forward to seeing how much of a Summer Finn incarnate Natalie Portman was, it turns out that No Strings Attached really did live up to it’s name and offered no conceivable reason for the lead character’s attraction to one another. Other than some sort of hyper sex drive that required each of them to drop everything in favour of nookie in any place besides from a bed, it would seem. Kutcher’s clingy frat-boy Adam completely mismatches Portman’s free bird Emma, but this is the least of your worries in a film which handles a woman’s period as if it’s a once yearly event. The shared cycle between Emma and her flatmate’s is just one of many poorly scripted scenes which sees a film with a pretty good premise, spiral into smutty Dude, Where’s My Car territory. Of which Kutcher is also blameworthy.
Towards the end of the film, when Emma finally agrees to go on an official date with Adam, we get a glimpse into the type of film this could have been. The bittersweet scene starts optimistically enough, as the love birds pot mini golf holes and suck on milkshake straws. As they wonder through the captivating light installation, Portman’s sulking starts as she realises it doesn’t matter how much fun she’s having, her total independence still wins out. At this moment, Reitman lays bare the unique take on relationships he could have provided if he saw his original inception through to the end.
Instead, No Strings Attached conforms to standard genre procedure, albeit with an added indie hook. Although Emma inexplicably feels Adam is ‘the one’ worth giving up her steadfast mantra for, the key couple are surrounded by an extensive ensemble cast which make the film worth the otherwise brow furrowing
This post was written by Lucia Hodgson