It looks like Natalie Portman is set to have one hell of a year – not only is she hotly tipped for Oscar glory at the ceremony in March for Black Swan but she’s also about to become a mother for the first time and... is making the move into generic sounding comedy... yay!
No Strings Attached is about two improbably attractive people who meet, fall immediately in lust and spend the rest of the picture trying unsuccessfully to keep things as uncomplicated as possible. It’s predictable fodder from male lead Ashton Kutcher, who never met a trashy high concept pitch he didn’t like, but Portman’s involvement is harder to understand. She’s been Oscar nominated before, is deliriously over educated and, my main gripe, not exactly known for her sense of humour. Yet this is just the first of two comedies she’s in this year, with the other being the decent looking Your Highness alongside James Franco and Danny McBride.
Then there’s director Ivan Reitman, who admittedly brought us the original Ghostbusters but hasn’t made a film of any note since 1990’s Kindergarten Cop. Six Days, Seven Nights? Evolution? At least the supporting cast is interesting; Kevin Kline gets the best lines in the trailer and it’s good to see the slightly chubby Cary Elwes getting work. More bizarre still is Friends With Benefits – a film with the exact same premise starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, set to arrive here in September. The connections are just as strange – Kunis and Portman playing rivals in Black Swan, Kutcher having starred with both of them. But Friends... has the dual advantage of Timberlake riding the success of The Social Network and director Will Gluck – fresh from the surprisingly entertaining Fired Up and last year’s Easy A. I think you can guess who our money is on.