The story begins 15 years ago at camp when Adam (Kutcher) first meets Emma (Portman) and boldly asks if he can finger her. 10 years after they have a meet cute at a college party and meet a few more times after that. There comes a time when neither of them has had sex in a long time; Adam broke up with his girlfriend, who is now dating his father and Emma is a resident at a hospital who works 80 hour weeks. Since Emma has no time for flirting and Adam needs something to bring him back form depression they decide to become friends with benefits. This seems logical since every single time they’ve seen each other has almost led to sex but has never gotten there. What follows is a montage series (that goes on for a little too long) of Emma and Adam romping and humping on every surface except a bed (they cuddle in one for a brief moment). At one point jealousy creeps in and later on feelings begin to emerge.
What is strange is how the movie resolves all this. Based on premise alone this movie would have been rated NC-17 had it come out 20 years ago. Yet, it finds it necessary to cover everyone’s private parts even when characters point out it is ok to show them; “we’ve all seen them” she expresses. This film has a strange double standard that without it would have other wise bee a great movie.
But other than that it works. Every comedic punch line falls right in place. Director, Ivan Reitman is a comedy veteran; he gave us Animal House and Ghost Busters, so there is little to worry there. This is the first movie I’ve seen where the introduction of the films title is part of a joke, without it being self-reflexive. Portman and Kutcher give performances adequate for the material. Kutcher might be more familiar with the material but it is nice to know Portman has a lighter side to her than just Black Swan. Despite its shortcomings the film pulls through and provides solid entertainment for you and your date.