This weekend Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis will star in the raunchy romantic comedy "Friends with Benefits," which explores what happens when two friends decide to have sex with no strings attached.
Coincidentally, Mila's "Black Swan" costar Natalie Portman actually starred in a movie about the same kind of sexual situation earlier this year, and it was fittingly titled "No Strings Attached." As an even odder coincidence, it was also titled "Friends with Benefits" at one point, which would have been extremely confusing (however, the different titles might not be enough to convince audiences that they're seeing a different movie when they watch "Friends with Benefits.")
Anyway, "No Strings Attached" begins by showing Portman's character Emma meeting up with Ashton Kutcher's character Adam by chance at various points in their lives, with one such run-in resulting in the two having sex (up to this point, the plot of the movie is a lot like the plot of another Kutcher rom-com, "A Lot Like Love"). Since Emma doesn't believe in true love or taking time off from work to work on building a serious relationship with someone, she gets Adam to agree to be her sex buddy. And the rest of the plot is pretty predictable from there.
However, while Mila and Natalie's similar sex buddy comedies are getting a lot of attention (most likely because they briefly became sex buddies themselves in "Black Swan"), the casts of these comparable comedies can be connected to some other movies about friends with benefits.
Kutcher starred with Hathaway in the movie "Valentine's Day," a flick with a massive cast that was created solely to exploit couples looking for the perfect date activity on the holiday (much like the holiday itself was created by greeting card companies to sell pieces of cardboard covered with sweet nothings). Anne's character was a phone sex operator, a profession that does benefit plenty of lonely guys, but Jake Gyllenhaal got the real deal when he and Hathaway became friends with benefits in "Love and Other Drugs." The "drom-com" (dramatic romantic comedy) definitely had its funny moments, but the reason Anne's character desired casual sex was sort of sad. The film also featured a gift that lots of guys probably give themselves and their wives on Valentine's Day, a little blue pill that Jake's character really shouldn't have taken.
Gyllenhaal is also connected to Portman through the movie "Brothers," and he's shared the silver screen with Natalie's "Your Highness" costar Zooey Deschanel in the dark comedy "The Good Girl." However, Deschanel is probably best known these days for her character Summer, a hipster's dream girl that created a friends with benefits situation with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character Tom in the quirky comedy "(500) Days of Summer." Summer refuses to ever really define her relationship with poor smitten Tom, leading him on while enjoying the perks of being in a real committed relationship (well, at least Tom is committed to her). As a quick side note, JGL also starred with Portman in the movie "Hesher" (Natalie is racking up quite the list of hottie costars of both sexes).
JGL also starred in "Inception" with hipster poster child Ellen Page, who plays a girl that decides to have sex with her best male friend (Michael Cera) simply because she's bored in the movie "Juno." However, their friends with benefits relationship doesn't last long when it results in a teen pregnancy that might just be responsible for the creation of shows like "16 and Pregnant."
But back to Zooey for a moment. She will be playing a bisexual character in "Our Idiot Brother," which stars Rashida Jones as her girlfriend, Paul Rudd as her brother, and Elizabeth Banks as her sister. Banks played a different kind of sex buddy in "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" -- her character decides to film a porn movie with her longtime friend and roommate (Seth Rogen) because they need to make some quick cash in order to pay their utility bills. Bet you can guess if they remain friends/business partners or become something more after having sex on film.
So it seems that women are being empowered in movies by opting for sex buddies in lieu of true love, but of course their desire for nothing more than to fulfill their carnal desires always seems to make the men that they're "using" melt. Is this how things would work with sex buddies in the real world?
Of course it's not! However, you've got to give credit to Hollywood for trying to convince girls that casual sex is the best way to make a guy fall in love with her, even if it's completely backwards from the way the world works.
On a lighter note, which actor and actress make up your favorite friends with benefits couple that can't just be happy with plain ol' sex?
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