Friends With Benefits (15)

Starring: Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake
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The Independent Culture

You can tell this romantic comedy thinks it's a cut above from the way it keeps sniggering at the feebleness of other romantic comedies – a risky strategy, as it turns out.

The friends in question are GQ art director Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis), a New York "headhunter" who persuaded him to move from LA. The gimmick is that since neither wants to settle down they can just have uncomplicated sex – "like playing tennis," he says. No strings but, fatally, not much charm either; the screenplay mistakes facetiousness for wit, and the couple's pretensions to be at the cutting edge – flash mobs, iphone apps – doesn't make them look any smarter. The saving grace is Patricia Clarkson as Timberlake's flaky, party-loving mum, who also comes up with the neat coinage LOMBARD for a type of male suitor: Lots of money but a real dullard. That's good – too good for this film.