No Strings Attached
Ashton Kutcher has become a constant contributor to Hollywood's abysmal January/February doldrums. That Kutcher takes Natalie Portman into the void with him is as incomprehensible as Ivan Reitman's out-to-lunch direction on a romantic comedy that needed at least dozen re-writes before it got a budget. Screenwriter Elizabeth-you'll-never-work-in-this-town-again-Meriwether has a kind of lopsided sense of humor that defies funniness. Meriwether goes to great pains to make Kutcher's best friend Eli (Jake M. Johnson) the "super straight" son of two gay dads as if such exposition automatically ignites laughs. Yawns are more like it. Kutcher breezes through the movie as L.A.-dwelling Adam. He's distraught because his retired TV-star dad Alvin (Kevin Kline) is busy banging his British ex-girlfriend. Dad also likes to smoke pot in an all-too-obvious nod to Kline's hippie role in the 1983 movie "The Big Chill." Adam meets up with doctor-in-training Emma (Portman), who he lost his virginity to at camp when they were fourteen. Emma is much too busy working at her hospital to consider anything other than sex as reason for having contact with the opposite sex. Emma also lives with three annoying roommates who all share the same monthly cycle, even if one of them is a gay guy. Funny, right? Nope. But it gives you a sense of how foolish the movie is. Adam makes Emma a "period mix-CD" with songs like "I've Got the World by a String." The couple have pretend raucous sex until something passing as real emotion starts to come between. Miserable.
Rated R. 110 mins. (D) (One Star - out of five/no halves)
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