Hide this


No Strings Attached Tries To Avoid The Heartstrings

Portman and Kucher: friendship has its benefits Portman and Kucher: friendship has its benefits

It takes a certain kind of mind to have Natalie Portman--on the eve of her very possible best actress Oscar-win--being portrayed as Ashton Kucher's f**k buddy in No Strings Attached, a light, quasi-romantic comedy offering  just in time for Valentine's Day. The man behind that cinematic portrayal is, of course, Hollywood's master-creator of popular comedies, Ivan Reitman.


Reitman was ten-years-old when he arrived in Canada from Slovakia with his Holocaust-survivor parents in the fifties. It might seem odd that someone with so much tragedy in their background would turn to comedy to make a living, but upon deeper reflection it makes perfect sense that out of acute suffering should come so much laughter.

In Reitman's case, the string of successful comedies started with Meatballs, an adolescent sex-and-hijinks-at-summer-camp-farce (made-in-Canada), and continued with such Hollywood classic fare as National Lampoon's Animal House, Ghostbusters I and II, Stripes, Beethoven, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

Reitman's fascination with sex had earlier beginnings. He produced a student sex film, Columbus of Sex, while he was at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario that almost landed him in jail. Foxy Lady and Cannibal Girls predated Meatballs and had a lot of sexual content, and he also helped produce some of David Cronenberg's earliest films, which all had a sexual subtext according to some psychological analysts.

Since movies dealing with sex and popular comedies have always been considered somewhat low-brow by the critics, it seems only natural that Reitman has never achieved the critical recognition that he deserves. (Last year's Best Picture Nomination for Up in the Air, was for the father/son producer team, and it was more Jason's movie than Ivan's.) Even his current movie, No String Attached, has been treated by the New York Times film reviewer as if it was a totally dismissible piece of fluff.

It deserves better than that. It is an adult comedy which explores very valid contemporary foibles having to do with sexual and romantic relationships. Natalie Portman's acting as Emma, while definitely not as high-brow as her role in Black Swan, is excellent throughout, as is Ashton Kucher's portrayal of Adam, an assistant director in television, who starts off in his youth by asking to finger the adolescent Emma, and finishes with the full enchilada.

Emma is shown several times as a student, then as a doctor who works eighty-hour-weeks and has barely enough time to go to the bathroom, never mind establishing a relationship with someone. She is looking for the easy way out, a friend she can hook up with at any hour of the day or night for a quickie, or as they say these days, "a friend with benefits."

Adam and Emma enjoy their no-strings-attached setup for quite a while, until Adam wants more. He wants to cuddle, he wants to stay for breakfast, he wants to get romantic. She freaks and breaks it off. They go through some predictable roller-coaster rides of emotions, see other people, and eventually find that "you don't know what you got 'til it's gone."

At a Jewish funeral, early in the movie, we hear my favorite Einstein quote: "There are two kinds of people in this world--some for whom nothing is a miracle, and some for whom everything is a miracle." Perhaps it could be considered miraculous that the girl who refuses to let him finger her in camp would gratefully open her legs to him years later, and only at the very end would she open her heart--and that is marvelous, if you think about it.

No Strings Attached has many hilarious moments--notably when Adam wakes up buck naked on the couch and has no idea whom he's had sex with the night before. I also liked the frat party scene, sort of Animal House brought into the new millennium, and Adam's father (Kevin Kline) with Adam's ex-girlfriend (Olivia Lovibond)  talking about their experiences at Burning Man!

Perhaps long after Black Swan is forgotten, No String Attached will be discovering new audiences. Hardly, you say? Perhaps not. My daughter is fourteen, and Ghostbusters--made 12 years before she was born-- is her favorite movie of all times. Why? Noor-un-nisa is quick to reply, "it's very funny, it's filled with action, it's awesome! And the special effects are way ahead of its time!" I can't think of a better homage to Ivan Reitman's talent than that. Not surprisingly, he is slated to come out with Ghostbusters III in 2012.

© Copyright RosebuMag.com, 2011

To create link towards this article on your website,
copy and paste the text below in your page.

Preview :

Powered by Rosebudmag © 2021
Follow Rosebud Magazine on Twitter Check out the Rosebud Magazine Facebook
Share this article with your friends, family and co-workers
Kusher and Portman have a good thing going, until...
Last modified on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 16:59

Want To Grow Bigger?



Follow growers on Twitter


FacebookButtonJoin grower discussions on Facebook


email-icon-1Ask our expert growers questions at: experts@rosebudmag.com

Growers Underground
© Rosebud Magazine, 2010 - 2018 | All rights reserved.

Login or Register