Film: Friends with Benefits
It's a good idea...until it becomes a bad idea.
A 2011 Romantic Comedy
starring Justin Timberlake
, Mila Kunis
and Woody Harrelson
Jamie is a headhunter ("I prefer corporate recruiter") who lures Dylan, a website art director, to New York to interview for GQ. He takes the job and the pair become close friends, eventually agreeing to have sex — just sex, with no further attachment — while they're on a break from romance. They both go through a few other people in the film and deal with issues surrounding their parents.
Generally critically praised, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 71%, with frequent mentions given to its realistic story, the chemistry and charisma of its leads, and of course, the entertainment value. It's frequently compared favorably to Scream (1996)
with its self-aware
characters and poking fun at its own genre.
This film provides examples of:
- Director Allusion:
- Affectionate Parody: The two leads mock many conventions of traditional romantic comedies and even when Dylan stages a 'movie like reconcillation at the climax' he says how impractical it is in real life. The movie still follows the same format and ends the same way.
- As Himself: Shaun White, hilariously.
- Big Applesauce: New York is basically a character and the differences between New Yorker Jamie and Los Angeles native Dylan are played up.
- Broken Bird: Jamie acknowledges herself as such because of bad previous relationships.
- Buxom Is Better: Subverted:
Jamie: Really? But I think they're so tiny...
Dylan: They're still breasts.
- California Doubling: Mocked extensively via the Show Within a Show Dylan and Jamie watch together, among other things that are mocked in that show ("Oh, look, the Empire State Building! Oh, look, the Statue of Liberty!")
- The Cameo: Emma Stone as Dylan's ex and Timberlake's friend Andy Samberg as Jamie's, as well as Jason Segel and Rashida Jones as the leads in the movie Jamie and Dylan watch
- The Cast Showoff: Justin Timberlake sings rather often.
- *Cough* Snark *Cough*: Subverted by Jamie, when Dylan is afraid to climb the Hollywood sign:
Jamie: (cough) Pussy. Oh, sorry. PUSSY!
- Deadpan Snarker: Both of the leads.
- Disappeared Dad: Jamie has no idea who her father is - mostly because her mother is pretty fuzzy on the details too.
- Exact Eavesdropping: When Jamie overhears Annie pressing Dylan about their relationship and he is extremely harsh towards her.
- Fake-Out Opening: The movie opens with Dylan and Jamie having a conversation... with each of their respective lovers.
- Fiery Redhead: Shaun White & Emma Stone.
- Friends with Benefits: Obviously.
- Freudian Excuse: Both Dylan and Jamie's issues are directly connected to their parents' disastrous attempts at love.
- Gallows Humor: Dylan's father jokes about his Alzheimer's:
Dylan: Did Annie (Dylan's sister) put you up to this?
Dylan's father: Who's Annie? (Dylan looks shocked) I'm kidding. What, I can't joke about this?
Dylan: Jesus Christ, dad.
Dylan's father: I don't know what else to do.
- Genre Savvy: Where a lot of the movie's comedy and deconstruction comes from.
- Hippie Parents: Jamie's mother.
- Idealized Sex: Averted at first: there's a lot of direction and negative reactions, and Dylan has to stop once because he has to pee. Played straight later, when Dylan and Jamie have sex during the visit to Dylan's family.
- Interrupted Intimacy: By Jamie's mom, no less.
- It's Not You, It's Me: When Dylan's girlfriend, Kayla breaks up with him:
Kayla: It is not you at all.
Dylan: Of course it's me! You can't say that! You're breaking up with me!
Kayla: It's not, it's me! I don't like you anymore!
- Jizzed in My Pants: Dylan jokes about it. He mentions that he sneezes when he has an orgasm; later, when he's making out with Jamie, he sneezes in her face.
Jamie: Really? Already?
Dylan: Just kidding.
- Just Friends: Maintained for much of the movie.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Annie on Dylan and Jamie.
- Missing Mom: Dylan's mother left his father 10 years before the movie.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Used during the sex scenes.
- Mood Whiplash: It's all frothy fun and games and witty repartee, until Dylan's dad, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, is introduced. Then the scene dives straight into awkward and heartbreaking.
- The Mountains of Illinois: Parodied in the film-within-a-film Jamie and Dylan watch. The characters are riding in a horse-drawn carriage, pointing out New York landmarks with rows of palm trees clearly visible in the background.
- Averted by the movie itself in that all scenes were shot in either New York or Los Angeles. However the interior of the New York GQ offices were a set in LA and although they were in NY, the Empire State Building behind Mila in the opening scene was digitally painted in. Fun fact: this was the first movie that actors were allowed on the actual Hollywood Sign.
- Mistaken for Gay: Tommy assumes Dylan is gay when they first meet, and keeps asking Dylan if he is sure that he's not gay.
- Not Staying for Breakfast: Parker, the guy who Jamie starts dating after her she and Dylan stop having sex attempts to do this. Unfortunately for him, Jamie wakes up before him, and catches him on the street.
- Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Jamie's mother walks on his daughter and Dylan having sex. Dylan and Jamie are creeped out, but she isn't.
- Product Placement:
- Jamie sure does love her iPad, and both of them their iPhones.
- GQ gets a lot of shots of their logo in the movie as that's where Dylan works.
- Sony Vaio computers and Sony TVs, since Screen Gems is owned by the Sony Corp.
- the same console VG system shows up on several different occasions and in different houses.
- In one cafeteria scene Pepsi drinks are plugged in.
- Running Gag:
- Dylan insists that "Closing Time" is by Third Eye Blind, until the final scene when he finds out it's actually Semisonic.
- Also Jamie blinks when she curses, and Dylan talks about how modern planes "practically land themselves" everytime he is on a plane. In a later scene this is shown to have been picked up from his father.
- Say My Name: Played for laughs when Dylan and Jamie first have sex:
Dylan: Say my name.
Jamie: Dylan Francis Harper Jr.
Dylan: Not my full name.
Jamie: Sorry, I had to fill out a lot of your paperwork.
- Saw a Woman in Half: Dylan's nephew, Sam, who wants to be a magician, attempts to do this trick with Jamie. From the box, she overhears Dylan's harsh remarks about her.
- Sarcasm Mode: Dylan's introduction features this, and both leads make heavy use of it.
- Sex Montage: After Jamie and Dylan first have sex, they decide not to do it again. However, their resolution doesn't last, and a Sex Montage follows.
- In the commentary Mila and Justin refer to it as a "fuck-tage."
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: "Fuck buddy" is more appropriate.
- Shipper on Deck: Dylan's sister, Annie for Dylan and Jamie.
- Shout-Out: Jamie's mother changes the nationality of Jamie's father throughout the movie. At one point the mother mentions a lover, who reminded her of her daughter's father, having a "Cold War" accent. Mila Kunis was born in the former Soviet Union.
- Shower of Love: In a deleted scene, Jamie and Dylan have sex in the shower. Dylan complains that Jamie is wearing a shower cap (because she just got her hair done).
- Smells Sexy: Hilarious for the audience, incredibly creepy for Dylan when he tries to sleep with someone other than Jamie.
- Speed Sex: Jamie brings it up when she parodies how men act during sex: "Oh, yeah, baby, come on, now. Say my name. Yeah... I'm done. How was I?"
- Straight Gay / Manly Gay: Tommy — played by Harrelson — is the sports editor at GQ and generally acts traditionally manly, and also is very open about being gay.
- Stylistic Suck: The film-within-a-film the leads watch several times.
- The Immodest Orgasm: When Dylan gives her oral, Jamie screams so loud that it freaks him out:
Dylan: What's wrong?
Dylan: Well, when women scream, it can be misconstrued!
Jamie: JUST KEEP GOING!
- Take That: Several:
- At the beginning, after Jamie's boyfriend broke up with her, she says: "I really have to stop buying into this bullshit Hollywood cliché of true love. (sees a poster for The Ugly Truth) Shut up, Katherine Heigl, you stupid liar!"
- Dylan's girlfriend breaks up with him right before they're supposed to go to a John Mayer concert. He remarks: "Thank you for doing this before the concert, by the way. Best breakup ever." Later, when she mentions to Jamie that his ex-girlfriend loves John Mayer, she pretends to retch.
- After Dylan and Jamie end their "friends with benefits" arrangement, they go out for a walk and both try to pick up someone. Dylan notes that the woman he noticed is reading a book. Jamie responds: "It's probably Nicholas Sparks."