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Portman plays Emma, a petite, emotionally unstable doctor in Los Angeles. Kutcher is Adam, described as a 'tall' and 'annoyingly happy' television writer or some sort. The two go way back (15 years) and keep bumping onto each other through the years. It is undeniable that both of them are attracted to each other but of course, the movie does not point that out yet. One day, Adam visits his dad and learns that he got together with his (Adam's) ex-girlfriend, Vanessa (Ophelia Lovibond). Adam then gets himself drunk that night and winds up naked in Emma's apartment- which she shares with several roommates, by the way. They end up having sex for the first time in 15 years and they finish the deed in 45 seconds. Great.
Anyhow, they agree to have a relationship. As sex friends. Thus the film title, "No Strings Attached". So basically, they have an open relationship. But we all know that's not bound to last- someone will fall in love one way or another. That someone will have to be Adam. Yes, he plays the girl in this movie in case you haven't noticed. Portman here plays the emotionless man who gets her strength from her family, thinking she could always take care of herself. After all, she's good at being alone.
But yes, you see it coming. The last three minutes of the film is devoted to Emma's confession that she does care about Adam and [wow] surprisingly wants to build a relationship with him with new rules: calling each other pet names and holding each other's hand.
Honestly, I have fallen in love with this movie. I'm really not into the sappy, chick-flick films but I did enjoy this one. I guess it's partly because it's kinda rough and naughty with all those dirty lines and all the sex going on, but mostly it's because I think Portman and Kutcher was so intimately in love that they made me believe there was something going on between the two of them. I know their pairing is random- not a couple you'd go for, but it worked for me.
I've seen Portman do some very intricate roles (see Closer and Black Swan) that she has executed delicately and almost effortlessly so it was fresh to see her do a leading-lady type of role. It was so easily believable for her. I also liked how the female counterpart got to embody the one who has the power to stop and start a relationship whenever she liked. Not that that's the way it should really turn out in real life- it was just a little nice to see how the man wasn't superior in the relationship.
It is very reminiscent of Love and Other Drugs, a film starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhal. Here, Portman plays Maggi Murdock- one who only wants sex and who's afraid of falling in love- only without the disease. Also, it gives everything away to the audience at the first scene. We all know they're bound to end up into each other's arms no matter how the story goes. You don't have to sit through the whole one and a half (more or less) hours to know how the film is going to end. One other minus is that their raging hormones are not so believable, but maybe that's just because I've seen Love and Other Drugs beforehand, in which there were far more raunchier sex scenes. Being a rom-com, I absolutely do not think that this film has done it's job. Its lack of humor or attempt thereof annoys the hell out of me. It stinks and it was not funny to me at all. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with the film and I liked it.
Overall, I think the film worked because of its casting. Portman and Kutcher are enjoyable on the silver screen- let alone on (not so steamy) sex scenes. It works because the film is exactly what you expect it to be- two cute people who make a cute couple enter a cute relationship. Four stars out of five.