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As the film’s title explains, they’ll have sex with no strings attached

As the film’s title explains, they’ll have sex with no strings attached

No Strings Attached

To Adam (Ashton Kutcher) the proposal sounds too good to be true. Longtime acquaintance Emma (Natalie Portman) suggests that they become, to use a euphemism, friends with benefits. They won’t go on dates or take vital roles in one another’s lives. Developing feelings, like post-coital cuddling, isn’t just discouraged but is strictly forbidden. They’ll use each other for sex. That’s it.

The pact seems ideal for Adam, who receives this offer after coming off a bender inspired by learning that his ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Ophelia Lovibond) is now sleeping with his dad (Kevin Kline). After such an emotionally traumatic experience, he can limit his vulnerability if involved with Emma in a purely physical way. Plus, he’s been interested in her since they attended summer camp together as kids.

As with most deals that defy belief, being best sex friends is more complicated than Adam anticipated. He feels jealous of a co-worker who pays her attention and begins to crave something akin to a dating relationship. Emma rebuffs the idea and encourages him to sleep with another woman so they won’t become too dependent on each other. Inevitably, though, Emma regrets pushing him into someone else’s embrace while remaining uncertain of what she wants.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED entices with its libertine premise about the joys of relationship-free sex, but the come-on is really just a lusty tease for a standard romantic comedy. Aside from an early montage of Kutcher and Portman coupling in beds, showers, and storage closets, Elizabeth Meriwether’s screenplay ditches the central conceit to get down to the business of making the leads acknowledge their love for each other.

The problem isn’t that NO STRINGS ATTACHED resolves itself in traditional moral terms but that it lacks the conviction to explore the very basis of the plot. A better version of the film might still arrive at the same conclusion while also considering the dynamics of a sex-based relationship free of emotional ties. Continue reading As the film’s title explains, they’ll have sex with no strings attached