Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

F W B -v- Crazy Stupid ...

I love that moment when a film surprises you, when you put on a film you expect nothing much from and you absolutely love it and get really involved with it. So it was with FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, one of last year's romcoms which I have now lent to a friend, and will want to see it again when I get it back. Paradoxically, the movie I thought I would enjoy CRAZY STUPID LOVE did not engage me at all and I found a lot to dislike in it.

Justin and Woody
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS has an engaging couple: Justin Timberlake who is now proving himself as an actor and leading man - is it really 10 years since I was watching him in those pop videos like for his hit "Cry Me A River" and "Rock Your Body" and I loved that one with Nelly "Work It" which was on MTV all the time, they are hilarious together, and Justin's albums then were very playable too - and Mila Kunis, so good in BLACK SWAN. He is the LA guy whom she headhunts for GQ magazine in New York, where he is taken in hand by Woody Harrelson, the gay best friend with a difference. It is all amusingly depicted, great soundtrack too, as our cute couple decide to be friends with benefits - sex without emotion - but as he says later he is now getting the emotion without the sex.  Add in her kookie mother (Patricia Clarkson) and his dad (Richard Jenkins) in the early stages of Alzheimers ... it all resolves nicely and takes one to places one did not expect to go, as ably directed by Will Gluck and written by Keith Merryman and others.

I reviewed the previous film by Glenn Ficcara and John Requa I LOVE YOU PHILIP MORRIS (gay interest label) a while ago and while I found it engaging enough (their script for BAD SANTA is also very amusing) I just did not respond to STUPID CRAZY LOVE as much. The problem for me, as with the recent BRIDESMAIDS, is that these "Saturday Night Live" people are just not known here in England as SNL does not play here, so I had never seen Kristen Wiig before, nor Steve Carell here (well I had no interest in seeing THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN!).  Here he is the dull decent guy whose wife Julianne Moore suddenly asks for a divorce after 25 years of marriage.

Womaniser around town Ryan Gosling takes our hapless guy under his wing and smartens him up and gets him on the dating circuit so he starts to meet all those other women - Marisa Tomei scores again here - and there are various plot complications and some yucky moments too. Again, there is a plot development I did not see coming ....
Are we though meant to find the 13 year old son obsessed about the 17 year old babysitter amusing ? - he won't take no for an answer and is practically abusing her by ignoring her wishes, while she of course secretly loves his father. Fairly amusing then but not as involving as F W B

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