No Strings Attached (2011 film)
No Strings Attached is a 2011 American romantic comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Elizabeth Meriwether. Starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, the film is about two friends who decide to make a pact to have "no strings attached" aka a casual sex relationship, without falling in love with each other. The film was released in the United States on January 21, 2011.
|No Strings Attached|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ivan Reitman|
|Screenplay by||Elizabeth Meriwether|
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Dana E. Glauberman|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$149.2 million|
After first meeting at a summer camp as teenagers, Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) run into each other a few times as young adults but never keep in touch. Emma becomes a doctor in Los Angeles, and Adam is a production assistant for a musical television show. Soon, Adam finds out that his father Alvin, the well-known star of a former hit television comedy series, has begun a romance with his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa. Devastated, he gets drunk and calls all his female contacts to hook up. The next morning, he wakes up on Emma's couch, where he ended up crying and passed out naked. She leads him to her room to find his pants, and they end up having sex.
The two have sex again at Adam’s house. Before she leaves, they agree to engage in a "no strings attached" relationship, where they just have sex. Soon, Adam finds himself getting jealous of Emma's co-worker Sam, and being an emotional person, he doubles his romantic attempts towards Emma. She feels awkward and thus ends their arrangement, only to end up missing him. She drunkenly crashes at his place, and they sleep together again.
On Adam's birthday, his father tells him he wishes to have children with Vanessa. Disgusted, Adam walks out, and Emma defends him. He asks her for one single date on Valentine's Day, and it seems perfect till she awkwardly tells him she will not engage in an emotional relationship.
At her sister's wedding, Emma realises she wants to be with Adam, and drives over to his place, only to see his colleague Lucy inside his house, and mistake her for his girlfriend. She drives away. The same night, Adam and Lucy try to have sex, when Vanessa informs him his father has had a heart attack. Adam rushes to the hospital as Vanessa leaves for a party, only to find out Emma has also come there as her colleague Shira informed her. As Emma confesses her feelings to Adam, he asks her to pursue their relationship again, and she agrees. They are then shown to have breakfast, a sign of a "strings attached" relationship, as the movie ends showing all relationships ending happily.
No Strings Attached is directed by Ivan Reitman based on a screenplay by Elizabeth Meriwether titled Friends with Benefits. The title was changed to avoid confusion with a different film with a similar premise that opened on July 22, 2011. The Paramount Pictures film was first announced in March 2010 as an untitled project. Actors Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman were cast in the lead roles, and Paramount anticipated a release date of January 7, 2011. Reitman said of casual sex, "I noticed from my own kids that with this generation in particular, young people find it easier to have a sexual relationship than an emotional one. That is how the sexes deal with each other today." Principal photography began in May 2010. By November 2010, the film was titled No Strings Attached with a new release date of January 21, 2011.
No Strings Attached had its world premiere on January 11, 2011, at the Fox Village Theater in Los Angeles, California. The film was released in 3,018 theaters in the United States and Canada on January 21, 2011. Its target demographic was women between 17 and 24 years old, and its primary competition was The Dilemma. Interest tracking reflected the target demographic's gaining interest in the film leading up to its release, and tracking also revealed "good early awareness" from Hispanic audiences. The studio predicted for the film to gross in the "mid-to-high teens" millions in its opening weekend, similar to past romantic comedies rated "R" (restricted to 17 years old and up) by the Motion Picture Association of America. With No Strings Attached as the only wide opener in the United States and Canada, it was uncertain if it would rank first at the box office above The Green Hornet, which opened the previous weekend in first place with $33.5 million.
Ultimately, No Strings Attached beat The Green Hornet with an opening weekend gross of $20.3 million. 70% of the audience were women. According to CinemaScore, audiences under the age of 25 gave the film an "A-" grade while audiences over the age of 25 gave it a "B" grade. Future grosses were expected to be dependent on the younger demographic.
The film grossed $70.7 million in the United States and Canada and $78.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $149.2 million.
No Strings Attached received mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 49%, based on 167 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "It benefits from the presence of Natalie Portman and director Ivan Reitman's steady hand, but No Strings Attached doesn't have the courage or conviction to follow through on its ribald premise." On Metacritic, the film received a score of 50 out of 100, based on 36 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Critic David Edelstein described No Strings Attached as a film with "a supposedly feminist veneer...(that) never makes the case for Emma's point of view. It's almost a feminist backlash movie, and it didn't have to be. There are plenty of reasons for brilliant young women, especially with the stress of a medical career, to approach time- and emotion-consuming relationships warily." He expressed disappointment on overuse of stock characters, as well as Reitman's "heavy-handed" direction and a story that is ultimately "corny and contrived and conservative." A. O. Scott called the film "not entirely terrible...high praise indeed, given that this is a film aspiring to match the achievement of 27 Dresses, When in Rome, and Leap Year"; according to Scott, the film is "Love & Other Drugs without the disease", a film whose pleasures "are to be found in the brisk, easy humor of some of Ms. Meriwether's dialogue and in the talented people scattered around Ms. Portman and Mr. Kutcher like fresh herbs strewn on a serving of overcooked fish." Scott considered "the film's great squandered opportunity—and also the source of some of its best comic moments—is that Ms. Gerwig and Mindy Kaling in effect share the role of Emma’s zany sidekick. How can this be? Why are these two entirely original and of-the-moment performers marginal players in this agreeable, lackluster picture and not stars of the year’s greatest girl-bromance?... To imagine Ms. Kaling and Ms. Gerwig in a remake of Thelma and Louise or the Wedding Crashers is to experience an equal measure of frustration and hope. Why can’t we have a few movies like that and not quite so many like this?"
British newspaper The Telegraph named No Strings Attached one of the ten worst films of 2011, saying "No Strings Attached is nominally a raunchy romantic comedy, but Natalie Portman betrays so little indication of enjoying herself you’d be forgiven for thinking we were watching deleted scenes from Black Swan."
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- "Ten worst films of 2011". The Telegraph. London. December 15, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
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