Now that all the silly award season films have faced WTT judgment, we can get back to the juicy stuff, like a trailer breakdown of No Strings Attached (now playing at a theater near you!) and Friends with Benefits (you'll have to count the days with me till 22 July).
Beyond blatant insipidness, they also share a common theme: the exploration of whether hot male and female friends can be close without also needing to do the sex. But which film will be better? Let's break it down scientifically...
I prefer the straightforward Friends with Benefits because I have trouble understanding tricky metaphors like No Strings Attached (it could be a movie about experimental puppets or Michael Bay CGI).
It's tough because the female stars provide easy White Swan vs. Black Swan fodder and the male stars make us think of the best episode of Punk'd. If roles were reversed, Ashton and Mila could have rekindled their 70's Show flame and JT could have been the lauded dancer who knocked up Natalie. Still, I lean towards FWB because that is the film that does not feature Mr. Kutcher.
I'm so proud of Greta Gerwig mumblecoring her way to a straight paycheck role in NSA. I believe there is a shot of Ms. Gerwig with Charlie's Angels hair sharing a knowing look with Olivia Thirlby, who appears nowhere else in the trailer. Not to mention Ludacris with some guest verses!
But in FWB Patricia Clarkson convincingly uses the term "slam piece." Then Woody Harrelson, firmly ensconced in the WTT Top 5 Contemporary Supporting Actors, asks if Mila Kunis has a penis. Plus a nine-year-old Asian girl being overly serious. I could kiss that casting director right on the mouth.
NSA: Ashton: "You can't fight me, you're miniature. You fight like a hamster!" It's funny because Natalie is wee and with hamster jokes there's always the whiff of Richard Gere's asshole (and Natalie loves a good laugh).
FWB: JT: "I could sing some Third Eye Blind..." He proceeds sings one of the worst radio songs of all time not written by TEB. Really, the second half of the trailer is a running gag on a Semisonic song. Which could be a bad sign.
FWB: JT: "Every time you curse, you blink." Under no circumstances is it believable that Mila would blink when she curses.
NSA: Ashton: "We're having sex." Natalie: "I knooow!" I can feel the sweat pouring off the writer's brow on that one.
It's hard to tell about the wardrobe in Friends with Benefits because Mila Kunis is in underwear or naked for the whole preview. So I have to go with Natalie in a white tank top for the win!
Too close to call--you'll just have to see them both.