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Film / No Strings Attached

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No Strings Attached is a 2011 romantic comedy directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Elizabeth Meriwether. The story is about two longtime friends, Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher), who decide to become Friends with Benefits.


This film provides examples of:

  • A Minor Kidroduction: The movie's opening scene takes place when Emma and Adam meet as preteens at summer camp.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Emma does this at the end of the film.
  • Anything That Moves: Adam's dad, Alvin.
  • Beta Couple: Patrice and Eli, shown having a normal courtship and relationship in contrast to Emma and Adam.
  • Black Best Friend: Wallace, the man who had the bar.
  • Catch-Phrase: In-universe example, Adam's Dad was once the star of a fictional comedy show called Great Scott. Thus everywhere he went, everyone asks him to say "Great Scott!" for them.
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  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Emma is vehement in being cold and distant to Adam, but the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes that isn't who she wants to be all the time.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Played straight from the first scene to the closing credits.
  • Fanservice: Literally one second of Natalie Portman's butt.
  • Friends with Benefits
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Emma hinted with Adam about going with her to something stupid the day before. So he shows up in a Michigan bright yellow hoodie and shorts to her dad's funeral.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Two lesbians fall in love right in front of Adam and start making out right on top of him. He even takes the time to put his head in between the two to take a picture to make it look like he's having a threesome since Emma refuses to have sex with him unless he does it with someone else.
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  • Gold Digger: Vanessa, after she and Adam broke up. She cheated on him with his dad and told him straight up that she wanted to marry, have a baby and thus become Adam's stepmom. Thankfully, this plan was averted at the end of the film.
  • Hate Sink: Vanessa is Adam Franklin’s ex girlfriend, whom leaves him for his own father, Alvin, straining the relationship of the latter two. Vanessa tries to ingratiate herself with Alvin by planning to have a child with him, an action which provokes Emma Kurtzman into calling her out for her past and current treatment of Adam. When Alvin overdoses on cough syrup, an action for which Vanessa is responsible, albeit unintentionally, she leaves Adam with her dog while she ditches Alvin to go to a party, refusing to take responsibility for her actions. Hedonistic, materialistic and self centred, Vanessa proves herself to be a thoroughly terrible person, despite being a relatively tame character in a relatively tame film.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: Adam's dad composes an original birthday song for him.
  • Has Two Daddies: Played straight with one of Adam's best friends.
  • Hospital Hottie: Emma.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Emma and Adam do this in the very last scene.
  • Love Father, Love Son: Adam's father keeps dating his ex-girlfriends/women who fell for him.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Adam. So adorable, romantic and quirky, he might as well be played by Zooey Deschanel. Seriously, the guy made her a period mix.
  • Mood Whiplash: A big one when Adam confesses that he loves Emma and she responds by repeatedly punching him in full view of public. A police officer has to come by and break them up.
  • Naked First Impression: Adam, after a day of drinking away his sorrows he finds himself on the couch where Emma and her three friends stay at with only a hand towel over his area. Even better, according to Emma, he threw off all his clothes and danced around, waving his penis around the night before.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: In-universe and played straight. Everyone loves Alvin, but in real life, he treats his son Adam like crap like dating his ex-girlfriend Vanessa.
  • No Social Skills: Lucy. Dear God, Lucy.
  • One Head Taller: Adam and Emma (Ashton Kutcher is 6'2,5, Natalie Portman is 5'3).
  • Pair the Spares: All the secondary characters are matched up in a montage over the end credits. Except Vanessa.
  • Product Placement: Adam and Emma proudly use Trojan condoms. And iPhones.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Lucy.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Emma and her fellow hospital coworkers/friends use these in quite a few jokes. Anytime Adam tries the same thing for them, they always accuse him of looking it up to which he humbly acknowledges so.
  • Sex Montage: Watch Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman merrily get it on all over the place with background music!
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend
  • Shout-Out: Adam writes a script for a musical high-school set TV show (he describes it as "teenagers singing about homework").
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Emma drunkenly throwing two girls out of Adam's house.
    You look like a pumpkin, bitch!
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Zigzagged. Initially two girls fall in love sitting on either side of Adam, and he just looks like he's caught in their moment. Then he takes them back to his place but when he goes in for a kiss one of them pushes him away. All of this only to serves to reinforce Emma's jealousy of course and leads to a Funny Moment as she drunkenly kicks them out of his house.
  • Wild Teen Party: In the beginning at the University of Michigan, where plenty of people are having sex with Anything That Moves.

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