Category Archives: santa-clara review

Once Bitten: Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in ‘No Strings Attached’

Once Bitten: Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in ‘No Strings Attached’

Better yet, they have terrific chemistry-smart, sexy, and sweet

Much of the best humor is a reaction to anxiety, and Reitman is timely in this ­respect, too. For Emma is part of a trend: As census figures have been showing for several erican women than ever aren’t just postponing marriage but are skipping it altogether. This trend is one of the fruits of modern feminism, and cultural conservatives find it a bitter one, insisting that it means the end of civil­ization as we know it-which, in a way, it ­probably does-and that it will only make women feel really, really bad, which it ­probably won’t. ­Because other­wise, why would we keep doing it? No Strings isn’t the only ­romantic comedy to tap into this trend (Runaway Bride, anyone?) but it may be the first with the nerve and originality not to ­retreat into cozy domes­ticity or a trip to the altar. ­Instead, Reitman ends his movie with its most ­audacious and satisfying joke.

After a puzzling series of disappointments, No Strings Attached is a return to form for a director who made his name delighting audiences with such comic gems as Ghostbusters (1984) and Dave (1993). The movie’s bright script is the impressive first-time effort of Elizabeth Meriwether, which may account for the welcome absence of the gross-out humor that infests even the best male-oriented rom-coms. ­Instead, we get impudent penis jokes and a down-to-earth sexual candor, frequently laced with a sense of the absurd, that feels true to how female friends talk with one ­another these days. But what’s most striking-because you ­suddenly realize how rare it is-is the ­degree to which women are given the upper hand in this story. Emma is an MD, while Adam is a lowly production assistant ­hoping to pitch a script for the sitcom he works on. It’s Adam who’s the ­romantic under­dog in this film, ­endearingly eager to dive in at the deep end while Emma does her best to play the heartless lout. Continue reading Once Bitten: Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in ‘No Strings Attached’