"No Strings Attached" is an old fashioned love story told with shocking, hip dialogue. This film directed by Ivan Reitman has heart and is not about a tough careless couple without feelings, but is about a woman who feels too much to risk losing herself in a relationship. In an attempt to protect herself from falling in love and the pain this vulnerability could impose, she becomes a f**k buddy' to a Mr. Handsomeness, Ashton Kutcher, who plays Adam. "No Strings Attached" is about Twenty First century high octane fear of commitment. An age where technology, the internet, the cell phone have become the heart beat and pulse of love only to make relating to the opposite sex more complex instead of easier. An age where we have invented the descriptive word 'multi-tasking' for the non-manipulative more honest word 'rude'. Occasionally, though screenwriter Elizabeth Meriwether deserves kudos for courage, she tries too hard to be hip and outrageous when a pal has a CD of songs made all referring to a woman's period by referencing the color red. Or when Kevin Kline, Adam's father, who is dating his son's former lover who is half his age, says, "One thing you learn after two failed marriages is how to eat kitty."
But crudités aside, the driving theme is a woman's fear of being dependent on a man and beauteous Natalie Portman plays this brilliantly. 'I don't need you to take care of me,' she says pushing Adam away though by now the audience knows she longs for his lips. As do half the women in the audience. Kutcher is in fine form and demonstrates why Demi Moore has turned him into every cougar's wet dream.
In the beginning Portman's fine acting as an MIT undergrad almost convinces us that she is too busy pursuing her residency to have time to date. "I know I'm supposed to be in a relationship, but I'd only end up with a bunch of his old t-shirts," Emma sighs. It is only well into the film when Emma's mother, played sensitively by Talia Balsam, who is well aware of her daughter's fear of commitment, talks about Emma's father's tragic passing. Emma's mother says. "You got good at being strong for me, but be hurt. I can take it."
The sweetness of the film -- well hidden by its grab-you-in-the-balls publicity -- is demonstrated when a timid blonde who is on a first date says, "Did you open the car door for me."
"Yes," the date replies.
"That's amazing," she says. "No one's ever done that for me. Do it again."
And he does it again while she radiates an orgasmic smile.
Finally when Emma agrees to go on a date outside the bedroom which threatens her fears of intimacy after scores of f**k buddy sessions have been designed to keep 'her' in control of the love affair, she makes Adam promise not to bring her a bouquet of flowers. Instead he brings her a bouquet of immaculately peeled carrots.
When the film ends, Emma, who has overcome her fear of commitment, says to Adam who, also has overcome his suave, cool, " I-want-to-be-a-bachelor-so-you-can't-break-my-heart" stance, meld passionately into each other's arms and impending couplehood. Now Emma pensively ponders what she wants in their new 'old fashioned' relationship, cocks her head and says," I'd like to hold your hand. I'd like to leave the bathroom door ajar when I pee."
"No," Adam says flashing one dimple.
"I'm going to do that," an assertive Emma says, regurgitating all romantic notions of traditional marriage.
"It's going to get weird," says a proudly entrapped Adam.
And so they go off into the night as lovers forevermore. One wonders. Or as one of Adam's buddies warns him, "In ten years you will be having sex with your wife in the missionary position and one of you will be asleep."
But you will not fall asleep in "No Strings Attached". Guaranteed.
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