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Is Ludacris Any Good in “No String Attached”? Actually, Yes (Movie Review)

Posted by E. Jaffe on 01/24/11 | Filed under Features, Ludacris, Movies
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In the new romantic comedy, “No Strings Attached”, Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman play Adam and Emma, two life-long friends who almost ruin everything by having sex with each other. In order to maintain their friendship, the two make a pact to keep their relationship strictly physical, meaning that there’s no room for jealousy, expectation, or fighting. As you may have guessed, the plan fails. After a few encounters, Adam finds himself in love with his best friend and becomes determined to make her feel the same way.

Cliché and formulaic, those are just two of the words that can be used to describe “No Strings Attached”, but why stop there? Here’s a few more: well acted, often funny, and, dare I say it, cute. As far as date movies go, you could do a lot worse than “No Strings”, that’s for sure.

When it comes down to romantic comedies, most of a film’s weight is put on the actors. Chemistry is essential in any genre, but for a film like this, it really is a make it or break it situation. Portman and Kutcher make it.

I don’t think anyone wanted to see an artist as talented and versatile as Natalie Portman playing the lead in a formulaic sex comedy, but after what must have been an emotionally blistering performance in Black Swan, it makes sense that she would want to be in something a bit more light-hearted. When it comes to beauty and talent, there really isn’t anyone better. Overcoming the film’s mediocre screenplay, Portman’s talents are on full display here. Kutcher is fully enjoyable (never thought I’d get to type that out), but this is Natalie’s show through and through.



Starring alongside Kutcher and Portman are comedian Jake Johnson and none other than Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Kutcher’s drinking buddies and personal advisors. Basically, their roles can be summarized like this: Johnson gets to play that friend who supports our protagonist every step of the way and Luda gets to be that token black guy who drops by every once in a while with a witty line or two (“Boo! Here comes my dick” comes to mind). Both actors fit their roles moderately well, but I can’t help but feel like Luda deserved a bit more screen time. Very seldom do I support the inclusion of “raptors” (rapper/actors for those of you who missed my “Get Him to the Greek” review) in big-budget Hollywood productions but Luda is definitely someone I’d like to see more of. It’s hard to hate on the man when two of the seven films in which he was featured prominently won Academy Awards (“Crash”, “Hustle & Flow”). I’m not saying Luda needs a leading role, but he’s a more than acceptable wingman. He didn’t become rap’s most animated character by being unlikable.

“No Strings Attached” comes from director Ivan Reitman, a seasoned player in the comedy world whose work dates back to a production credit in 1978’s “Animal House”. In his illustrious career, Reitman has proven to be a comedy hero of sorts, covering the genre’s every base from slapstick (“Ghost Busters”) to dramedy (“Dave”). When compared to the works from the director’s past, “No Strings Attached” comes up a bit short, but, hey, at least it’s not as bad as 2004’s “My Super Ex-Girlfriend”.

So how funny is “No Strings Attached”? Funnier than anything else in Ashton’s catalog, that’s for sure (save “That 70’s Show”). It’s formulaic and overly sentimental, but not necessarily in an off-putting manner. There are plenty of worse ways to spend two hours of your time. There’s always “Little Fockers”.

Rating: 3 out 5
Enjoyable

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