Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Movies I Haven't Seen: No Strings Attached

Every once in a while, I see a trailer for a movie that sells the movie so well to me that Don Draper would be drunk with jealousy over how well it was advertised...and Old Fashioneds, cause he's pimp like that.  Fashioneds?  Fashions?  Eh, forget it.  The great trailers set up the plot of the movie, show us a few key moments, tell us who the players are, and get us to open our wallets and shell out a Lincoln and three Washingtons...all without revealing every single detail about the events of the movie.  Some trailers on the other hand, fail miserably at this.  Some trailers are the movie, literally.  They set up the plot, show us the conflicts, show us the upbeat beginning of the resolution and usually give us the moral of the story that the stupid, shit-hole character we're supposed to care about learns at the end...of the movie...that they want us to pay to see.  Except it's too late, cause we've seen everything, or so you'd think.  But people still end up paying to see these flicks, irregardless (I'm just kidding, I know it's not a word).  Well, I'm damn sick of people paying to see these movies, because every time you pay to see one, the money men in Hollywood think, "Hey!  If we make another one of these pieces of shit, the same people will pay to see that one too!"  And I'm gonna do something about it!  Right here!  Well...down there.

Right here!  Welcome to the first edition of 'Movies I Haven't Seen!' where I review movies that I have not had the pleasure of seeing and most likely won't, due to the fact that I think they look rather poopy.  I'll only have viewed the trailers before reviewing these movies, so obviously everything I say comes directly from my expansive knowledge of the movie-making trade and a whole heaping helping of pulling opinions straight out of my ass.  And in the very likely event that I'm exactly correct in guessing how terrible the movie is and how exactly it's going to end, you might want to watch out for spoilers.  But like I said, I haven't seen the pile of tripe in question so don't get nasty with me when I nail it right on the head.  And I refuse to do any of that puny bullshit movie reviews do...such as, go see this movie right away with someone you aren't really dating!  Get it?  'Cause of the premise?  Whatever, Ben Lyons will come up with something to make you puke out your soul.

No Brains Required...sorry Ms. Portman!

Our movie this round is No Strings Attached, a supposedly delightful little romp that decides to finally answer the age old question of whether two friends can carry on a physical relationship while still just remaining good, solid friends like they were at the start.  My first impression is that I'm shocked that no one has ever tried to tackle this conundrum on celluloid before.  This unique premise will surely be logged in the annals of history and passed on from generation to generation as a constant reminder that they were first to the punch and deserve all of the credit for creating this genuinely original idea amongst all of the recycled garbage H-wood puts out today, like Black Swan.  We get it, a ballet movie, we've all seen Billy Elliot and Center Stage, get over it already!  Okay, enough with the sarcasm.  I haven't laid it on that thick since, well, ever maybe.  I would go through IMDB (shameless plug!) and find endless movies about friends becoming romantic and friends trying to keep it casual, but do I really have to go farther than one of the most classic of Seinfeld episodes?  You know, when Jerry and Elaine attempt to pull off the exact same premise?  And fail miserably?  The trailer for No Strings Attached even manages to fire a cliche cannonball right down our port holes, having the main girl utter the oft-heard solution to keeping it casual, "Maybe we should establish ground rules."  I'll pause for a moment so you can listen to the death throes of creativity.

Speaking of Black Swan, this movie stars the one and only Natalie Portman.  I dig the hell out of her but I can't for the life of me understand why she decided to be in this painfully chick-flicky romantic comedy.  She literally came off the greatest movie of the year and forgot that she could win an Oscar so she decided to slum it.  Happens all the time I guess.  Halle Berry did it with Monster's Ball and Catwoman.  Jamie Foxx did it with Ray and Stealth, although Stealth was filmed before.  Still strange how that seems to happen every single time.  Maybe Miss Portman is going for the coveted Oscar/Razzie combo, following in the steps of Sandra Bullock (who definitely deserved at least one of those awards.)  I'm not saying that Natalie Portman is going to be bad in this, because it would have to be directed by George Lucas for her to be even slightly terrible, but the choice of the role is what's throwing me off.  She obviously wasn't doing it so she cuddle with Ashton Kutcher, correct?  Speaking of the star of Killers, Valentines Day, and What Happens in Vegas, I can for the life of me understand why he did this movie...it has a little something to do with that list of excrement I just recited...he couldn't have done any better than this.  I don't hate Mr. Demi Moore either but he's not exactly known for his choice roles.  And starting another sentence off with 'speaking of', speaking of Killers, that's what this movie should have been.  This should have been another Kutcher/Katherine Heigl movie.  She's obviously desperate to flush her career down the shitter by saying the absolute dumbest things she can say to the absolute wrong people at exactly the wrong times.  Why not add 'star in more box-office mediocrity' to the list?  So I think that's how I'm going to review this movie, as if Katherine Heigl was in it instead of Natalie Portman.  She can skip right from Black Swan to Your Highness as far as I'm concerned.  I'll completely forget about this and blame it on Katherine Heigl, I promise.  She won't care, she'll just take out four pages in Entertainment Weekly to apologize again.  Good, now that's that.  I can move on with my life.  And Ivan Reitman?  You directed this?  For Gozer's sake why!?  What attracted you to this project, the absolute lack of any work you had to do?  If Ashton Kutcher is in Ghostbusters III because he became your muse on this project...so help me...I will definitely still see it.  I'm a weak, weak man, Reitman.

All righty, spoiler alert time.  Where to begin...oh yes, Kutcher has to be a bit of a drunk and a womanizer.  But not a hated womanizer or he wouldn't have a best friend who is a girl.  Obviously he's always had feelings for her and she him, otherwise we wouldn't be in this mess.  She's a working girl, (not a hooker, a girl that works) a doctor even, and has no time for serious relationships because no doctors are happily married in real life.  One night they just happen to be engaging in girl-talk and the girl-talk leads to them sleeping together for the first time and they both act surprised even though they're not.  All of their friends are pretty surprised though because if there's someone you can hide all of your secrets from, it's your mind-numbingly retarded close movie friends.  Apparently, Miss Kutcher starts to get attached and decides it's time to lock that down, like he should, but Natalie, being a modern woman, just wants uncomplicated loving...and I'm guessing one of the lessons that we as a movie audience learn at the end of this yarn, something that we've known for only our entire lives, is that it's always goddammed complicated...and the rocky road to the climax (a pun! Dammit!) begins.  Ashton and Natalie will separate a little, Natalie will push him away and Ashton will either go on to other women or act like he is.  Natalie will feign a tough exterior while secretly being really, really grumpy at him (yes I said that in baby-talk) because he did exactly what she wanted (a woman wrote this movie, seriously?)  And finally, at the insistence of all of their friends, who are now completely caught up with the rest of the population and apologize for their mind-thumpingly terrible advice throughout the movie, tell them to kiss and keep kissing for as long as the credits shall roll.

There's a couple ways it could end after that.  Obviously, and this is my guess for this movie, Ashton and Natalie/Heigl get together and stay together and have babies that they constantly tell the plot of this movie to long after they're literally bored shitless and have to go seek doctorly help, or just their mom since she's a doctor...a strong woman doctor!  But, there's always the chance that once they go through this very realistic ordeal, they decide that a relationship really isn't for them, but they need to remain friends and to remain friends, they have to stop sleeping together...drag.  Natalie can do better but let's face it, Ashton can't.  He's not a doctor.  That sucks, dude.  There will be a few funny lines in this movie for the guy who gets drug by his feet, tearing his fingernails to bloody shards on the solid concrete, by his significant other, but I literally did not even slightly chuckle once during the trailer.  Most of the time, in trailers, you're supposed to make an audience laugh, not just your target audience.  Your target audience already has their pocketbooks out and prepped because Ashton Kutcher wears little else than a dopey smile in the trailer.  And we all know there's no better reason to spend your hard earned cash...unless you can just find similar photos of him on the internet.  I wouldn't know, I didn't look...much.

So, in conclusion, I would have to give this movie 1.5 out of 5 uhhhhhhhhh, let's call them Presumptive Stars?  I just made that up on the spot.  Not once did I even remotely think anything in this movie would be original and I would be mouth agape and dumbstruck if it proved me wrong, if I ever admitted it.  In fact, this movie isn't even original this year, because Mila Kunis and J-Timberlake have a movie coming out called Friends With Benefits!  With this I am eagerly anticipating the return of the competing blockbusters of the late 90's.  Armageddon had Deep Impact, Volcano had Dante's Peak, and now No Strings Attached has Friends With Benefits to compete with.  Actually, no it won't, 'cause Benefits doesn't come out until this summer.  And now that I stare at the cast list for it, I'm mildly interested.  And now after having watched the trailer, I might recommend it over No Strings Attached!  Doesn't look terrible.  And by doesn't look terrible I mean, when your girlfriend makes you watch one or the other, really try to get her to watch Black Swan instead.  It was so good, right?!

No...no...that's not quite right.