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Film / Friends with Benefits

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It's a good idea...until it becomes a bad idea.

A 2011 Romantic Comedy directed by Will Gluck and starring Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis and Woody Harrelson.

Jamie Rellis (Kunis) is a headhunter ("I prefer corporate recruiter") who lures Dylan Harper (Timberlake), 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.


This film provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: The two leads mock many conventions of traditional romantic comedies and even when Dylan stages a 'movie like reconciliation at the climax' he says how impractical it is in real life. The movie still follows the same format and ends the same way.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Jamie. Justified as her mother cannot remember what ethnicity her absentee father was; possibilities include Greek, Russian, Hispanic and Middle-Eastern. note 
  • As Himself: Shaun White, hilariously.
  • Big Applesauce: New York City 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.
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  • Brooklyn Rage: When Jamie swears on the plane-trip to Los Angeles, Dylan informs a couple of noticing passengers that she's from New York.
  • Buxom Is Better: Subverted. When Dylan and Jamie are listing what they like about each other's looks, he mentions her breasts.
    Jamie: Really? But I think they're so tiny...
    Dylan: They're still breasts.
  • California Doubling: Mocked In-Universe via the cheesy rom-com 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.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: Subverted by Jamie, when Dylan is afraid to climb the Hollywood sign:
    Jamie: (cough) Pussy. Oh, sorry. PUSSY!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: When Dylan gives her oral, Jamie screams so loud that it freaks him out:
    Dylan: What's wrong?
    Jamie: NOTHING!
    Dylan: Well, when women scream, it can be misconstrued!
  • 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.
  • Missing Mom: Dylan's mother left his father 10 years before the movie.
  • 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.
  • 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 obvious palm trees visible in the background. Also from said film, Los Angeles Union Station representing Grand Central Terminal.
    • Averted by the movie itself in that all scenes were shot in either New York City 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 Jamie in the opening scene was digitally painted in. This was also the first movie that actors were allowed on the actual Hollywood Sign.
  • 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.
  • The One That Got Away: Near the end of the film, Mr. Harper tells Dylan about his and begs him not to repeat his mistakes.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Jamie's mother walks in on her 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.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Dylan's father, due to Alzheimer's disease, which launches the movie from a raunchy romantic comedy to drama in the scenes he is in.
  • Sex Montage: After Jamie and Dylan first have sex, they decide not to do it again. However, their resolution doesn't last, and the trope follows.
    • In the commentary Mila and Justin refer to it as a "fuck-tage."
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Dylan tells his sister Annie that Jamie is not his 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.
    • The movie Jamie and Dylan watch on television while running down all the possible romantic clichés is Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
    • The song Dylan and Jamie bond over is "Closing Time" by Semi Sonic.
    • While complaining about her breakup, Jamie yells at a poster of The Ugly Truth starring Katherine Heigl.
  • 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).
  • Sitting on the Roof: When Jamie feels like being alone, she goes to a skyscraper rooftop.
  • Smells Sexy: Hilarious for the audience, incredibly creepy for Dylan when he tries to sleep with someone other than Jamie.
  • Speed Sex: Jamie parodies how men act during sex: "Oh, yeah, baby, come on, now. Say my name. Yeah... I'm done. How was I?"
  • Straight Gay: Tommy 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.
  • 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 he 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."
  • With Friends Like These...: Jamie says a variant to Dylan during their fight:
    "With friends like you, who needs friends?"


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