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No Strings Attached


Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Ivan Reitman 
Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline, Cary Elwes  
An image from No Strings Attached

The comedy kingpin that is Ivan Reitman returns to the director’s chair to helm this edgy romantic comedy about “friends with benefits”.

Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher) are long-time pals who keep bumping into each other at momentous occasions in each other’s lives. Things start falling apart when Adam’s father lets out that he’s dating Adam’s ex-girlfriend. Desperate to ‘get back on the wagon’ Adam starts calling every woman that he knows. Next day he wakes up half-naked in a strange apartment with no memory of the previous night. He is enlightened by Emma, and her 3 flatmates, that he text-messaged her last night and ended up falling asleep on her couch naked and crying. The two of them end up having sex when they go to Emma’s room to retrieve Adam’s pants.

Ambitious doctor Emma doesn’t want anything getting in her way, especially not romance. Having a self-professed “peanut allergy to relationships”, she believes that no two people are ‘forever’ and wants to keep it casual. The two agree to a ‘no strings attached’ relationship. ‘No strings’ means no jealousy, no commitment, no “I miss you”, no fighting, no flowers, no baby voices. It means that they can do whatever they want – as long as they don’t fall in love. What starts out as a perfect situation becomes tricky and complicated when those pesky irritants called ‘feelings’ get involved.

Whilst the formulaic conclusion may seem as predictable as any other rom-com out there, the film’s best moments lie in the humorous journey towards the inevitable. Both characters hilariously attempt to outdo one another’s nonchalant approach to romance and wind up trying to untangle the strings they tried so hard to avoid in the first place. At the heart of No Strings Attached is one key question that Emma and Adam struggle to answer: can two friends hook up without love getting in the way?

Ashita Agarwal

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Screenings of this film:

2010/2011 Summer Term (35mm)