Going in to this I already had my favorite and least favorite, but for the sake of professionalism I put that aside. Friends with Benefits is one of my top re-watchers, has been for years. No strings attached I fell asleep to the first time I watched it, thus deciding it was boring. I went in to this with a blank mind and was quite pleased after watching No Strings Attached for the second time. I can now finally say that it was boring, and I wasn’t just tired
Friends with Benefits
Right from the start Friends with benefits had a better opening. The tricky cell phone deception was brilliant, and I loved the fact that the significant others were Emma Stone and Andy Samberg. That being said, almost everyone in this cast is known in some way. Hell, even a pissed off (like really pissed off) Shaun White shows up a few times. Though of the B-cast Woody Harrelson steals the show. I have seen him play many things, but a hilarious gay man is not one. There is a brief moment where he mentions he has been in love and his character is so good I wanted to hear more. The scale of this movie is great too, it feels very open. It, like most movies, is set in NYC but one of the best scenes in the movie is shot across country in LA. The only real downfall I can find of this movie is that I never really had a good gut wrenching laugh, always more of a chuckle, which I like in my comedies.
No Strings Attached
So for those of you that want to watch this badly I will start out with the good. I apologize if it seems like I am reaching, because I am. This movie has a superb B-cast, even better than FWB. It had Ludacris, the girl from the office, the guy from new girl, Lake Bell, Kevin Kline, and a couple other faces you will recognize. And though they are not as big of names as FWB B-cast, they carry this movie. Ashton Kutcher also generates some laughter that was quite lacking from FWB. There was also a 15 minute period around the middle of the movie where I liked Natalie Portman’s character. Other than that this movie was dreadfully boring, and 30 minutes too long for a 147 minute movie. Way overly cheesy. Cheesy to the point when you make an audible “Ugh”. The dialogue is even so uninteresting, and terribly written. And last but not least, the characters had ZERO chemistry.
Though I did enjoy the meeting of Mila and Justin, it felt way too “meet cute”, and really unrealistic. I just like the laugh I get from an awkward 14 year old boy casually asking to finger a girl he just met.
Again, although the montage was great in FWB, just two friends having normal conversation while screwing. The montage in NSA gave me a lot more laughs, much supported by the B-cast.
Both movies have parents that are messed up in some way. But I more found Ashton’s dad to just be a dick. Don’t get me wrong, Mila’s mom is a dick too, but likeable. And Justin’s dad just hits the feels so hard.
“Guy in the way”
Both movies have a guy in the way, Mila actually dates hers. Though, if the guy in NSA was in it more and played a more intrusive role he would have won hands down.
Friends with benefits, to me, is a clear winner here. You have the non-chelant talking about turn on’s and offs, and do’s and don’ts. Plus a bible app! Whereas NSA just feels rushed and out of the blue.
Of course every love story needs a clichéd fallout, obviously. I liked NSA fallout better, barely. NSA fallout spans over multiple weeks and feels more realistic.
Something that I found highly unnecessary in both of these was that EVERYBODY had a cool job. Assistant writer on a TV show, Doctor, Ad director for GQ, and headhunter! I prefer FWB more though because they are close to the tops of their respective fields and you get to see more of their jobs.
I’d say this one was the hardest to rate because both movies have amazing B-cast members. Almost everyone is recognizable, and does their job great. Though I’m going to give it to FWB. You’ll see why.
This is why I gave the B-cast to FWB. Besides Woody Harrelson, who was amazing, the main characters don’t really have any close friends. NSA was supported by the friends. The girl’s awesome roommates who she works with. Her best friend that falls in love with his best friend. Again, all recognizable
I’ll keep this short. NSA felt very small in scale, always set in small sets. FWB felt very bright and open. Always in new places, outdoors a lot. And spanning different oceans.
Declaration of love
Both were good, but FWB went above and beyond with a flash mob. How can you beat that?
I’m not going to put this lightly. The chemistry between the two in NSA was god damn terrible. There was only a fifteen minute period where I actually believed they could date. There is a reason they weren’t friends before they started having sex, because they shouldn’t be. If we saw 6 months later, they would be broken up and despise each other.
NSA attached is actually a clear winner on this. Yes, I found it to be droned out and boring. It loses momentum quickly. But I actually get quite a few good laughs out of it, whereas I just chuckle at FWB.
Parental crisis followed by advice
This one I was surprised both had. It’s a really specific category and they fall within like 10 minutes of each other even. FWB is a hard winner though, because of his father. His father is one of the best characters in this movie.
FWB is a clear winner here. You can watch NSA once, but only once, and it would be nothing more than for the friends. FWB will keep you popping it in on 2nd dates when you are just sitting on the couch. It’s not just a good comedy, it’s a good movie with re-watch ability.