There is no denying that Hollywood has hit a rom-com divot, and can't seem to get out of it. So let us compare and contrast the quality and originality of the scripts that were released within months of each other.
No Strings Attached was released January of this year, quick and to the point. However the promotional wait on Friends with Benefits has been going on for months and it's only just been released this September. The latter pips its opponent to the post with a 109 minute runtime, with No Strings Attached having a runtime of 110 minutes.
However in reality, Friends with Benefits felt a lot faster. The jibs between Mila's character Jamie, and Timberlake's character, Dylan, are so fast it's incredible that you don't get whiplash trying to keep up. However it made the gluggy, heavy moments of Dylan's family and Jamie's lack of self-confidence in being loved for herself, far more bearable than in No Strings Attached.
While No Strings Attached held its funny moments, and some brilliantly humorous ideas within the script, such as balloons for good sex and a ‘period' tape, the chemistry between Portman and Kutcher just did not compare to Kunis and Timberlake. Not to mention the lack of substance in the script. Then again, substance isn't a romantic comedy strong suit.
It may be the fact that Kunis doesn't play the typical rom-com heroine, but that she is sassy, wickedly clever and has confidence oozing out of her pores (or so everyone thinks), that makes her relationship with J.T just that much more interesting. The female lead being portrayed in such a sassy, yet down-to-earth and plain fun role gives new va-va-voom to the whole concept of "fuck buddies".
Friends with Benefits completely revamps the whole idea by using sex and skin-to-skin to get at questions about the possibility of romantic love between true male and female equals, and this is where Friends with Benefits comes out on top. It isn't the female saying she doesn't want to get hurt and it isn't about the male just trying to get laid, it's about equals who don't know their emotional equilibriums so they set out to have fun instead.
While the ending may be typical and cleverly clichéd, director Will Gluck gave us something fresh, which is so hard to do with such a clichéd genre.