“No Strings Attached” seems like the perfect way for Natalie Portman to cleanse herself of all the psychological trauma and emotional baggage that comes with playing a demented ballerina in Black Swan. Portman’s co-star is Ashton Kutcher, who is famous for being married to Demi Moore, irritating other famous names in his MTV show Punk’d, and of course being insanely good-looking. The director, Ivan Reitman, remained faithful to the romcom guidebook of boy meets, looses, and subsequently gets girl in an oh-not-so- surprising series of events. The storyline: our two heroes, after having a one-off teenage encounter, meet again years later decide to have a “no strings attached” relationship – a mutual arrangement of casual sex. They agree to not let things get serious. Needless to say, end up breaking their promise and begin to have real feelings for each other.
The hook, although not a particularly compelling one, is contrary to the usual genre conventions in other mainstream studio comedies, the commitment phobe is the female lead here, and the male lead is the Darcy-obsessed Bridget Jones. With Emma (Portman) having intimacy issues, refusing to hold hands, hug, or do anything remotely romantic, you have Adam (Kutcher) making her a ‘period-mix’ CD. So, it is nice to see a romantic comedy that doesn’t romanticize and sentimentalise sex to a ludicrous degree for a change.
Even if their on-screen chemistry is good, with a decent effort of a believable relationship, their characters are zero-dimensional making the audience suspect whether you should be rooting for them simply because they are pretty.
Despite its weary predictability, bland characters, and lack of any true originality, No Strings Attached is still a solid romantic comedy with some decent laughs enlivened by its amiable cast of lead and supporting actors.