Jan Wahl Movie Review: ‘Friends With Benefits’

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Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake (l-r) in scene from movie 'Friends with Benefits.' (AP)

Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake (l-r) in scene from movie ‘Friends with Benefits.’ (AP)

JanWahl20100909_KCBS_0564r Jan Wahl
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(KCBS) – KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews ‘Friends With Benefits, the romantic comedy starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. Plus, and early review of ‘The Help’ based on the bestselling novel.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS (R)

Though it is easy to forget because of the turkeys they often star in, we have some very strong young actors and actresses in today’s Mainstream Hollywood. Emma Stone comes to mind, with an amazing performance in a movie that amazingly is worthy of her talent: The Help. In this new one, Friends with Benefits, we have the best thing about last year’s overrated The Black Swan. Her name is Mila Kunis. Here she co-stars with Justin Timberlake. She’s a corporate headhunter, he works for a major magazine. Both seem to have someone home behind the eyes, so at least she doesn’t have to become the idiot girlfriend or naive ditz. The idea is obvious, and, like No Strings Attached, too obvious, exchanging vulgarity for wit. But here’s the good news. Patricia Clarkson and Richard Jenkins show up, and these are two of the best character actors around. Of course they should have had more screen time, but this is a movie, like so many others, marketed to the youngest audience not going to Harry Potter. Because of the strong actors, the relevance of the idea that sexual intimacy rules have changed but ultimately they haven’t..and that we actually want to spend time with these people instead of being offended or bored with them… it’s fine for some summer escape.
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Still of Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Dale Robinette and Emma Stone in 'The Help' (IMDB)

Still of Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Dale Robinette and Emma Stone in 'The Help' (IMDB)


THE HELP (Early review)

When it comes to great movies this summer, I’ve seen two: Midnight in Paris and Page One: Inside the New York Times. Now add to that this incredibly strong, touching movie coming out next week: The Help. Based on the popular novel by Katheryn Stockett, it tells the tale of three courageous women who attempt to break the rules of racism and repression in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi. More on this next week, but make plans now to see this remarkable, four hat movie. It is an example of the power and beauty possible in cinema.
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SEE RIGHT NOW: BEGINNERS, TABLOID, SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN, BUCK, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

DVD/HOME VIDEO: LIMITLESS, POTICHE, HEY BOO: HARPER LEE AND TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, SOURCE CODE. PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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