Is it possible to
smash bonk the living daylights out of someone on a regular basis without letting emotions enter the fray? That’s the central conceit at the heart of Ivan Reitman’s deliciously naughty and funny sex-com No Strings Attached, which pairs up Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman to fine effect. Hilarious observational humour interspersed with occasional poignant moments provides a winning combination that is only let down by too much meandering in the build-up to the climax. There’s also the added bonus of Kevin Kline in his funniest comic portrayal in yonks.
Kutcher plays Adam, a good-natured guy troubled by his famous dad (Kline) canoodling with his ex and secretly yearning for an emotional connection. He soon gets jiggy with an old friend called Emma (Portman) after a drunken night out – but discovers that she is after casual sex and no more. So the ground rules are laid down, precluding lovey-dovey stuff like snuggling, but can Adam keep his feelings constantly wrapped up while frequently unleashing the beast from his loins? As if.
Ghostbusters director Reitman ensures the intriguing premise zips along in its early stages, punctuated by juicy one-liners and cringeworthy moments for the characters. “If there’s one thing you learn after two failed marriages it’s how to eat kitty,” muses Kline’s faded television star to his embarrassed son. The smut factor is unashamedly served up, which proves to be far more effective than the tedious slapstick that litters generic rom-coms.