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Love kills laughs

Richard Crouse: I don’t know about you Mark, but I don’t think Natalie Portman has to worry about No Strings Attached “Norbiting” her chance of an Oscar nomination. It has charm here and there, but is so bland I don’t even think Academy Award voters will even remember she was in the movie by Monday when their ballots are due. Thoughts?

Mark Breslin: I think the movie proves she has a gift for light comedy – very, very, very light comedy. I agree the movie is bland, but the good news is that its weightlessness is an antidote to the legion of overstated rom-coms. For the first half of the picture, I found myself applauding its gentle, loping rhythms. Then I fought to stay awake.

RC: I hear you. The sex-is-easy, love-is-hard premise works well enough when she and Kutcher are arranging trysts by text and keeping it informal but when the l-word — that’s love — rears its head the movie becomes predictable and dull. Perhaps it’s because the leads aren’t nearly as interesting as the supporting cast.

MB: Yes, yes! Great supporting cast! Kevin Kline, Lake Bell, Olivia Thirlby and many more inject the movie with the verve it needs. But now for the big question, Richard — Ashton Kutcher. Well?

RC: He looks good in a suit and can deliver a line but I really thought his role could have been played by any number of actors — Paul Rudd and Josh Duhamel maybe — and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the finished product. Back to the supporting cast though. You’re in the comedy biz. Can’t you get Lake Bell a better gig than this. She’s fantastic.

MB: Let me call the folks over at Little Mosque and see what they can do … As for Kutcher, I prefer him in sleazy cynical roles. There’s nothing more boring than a reformed cad. How much do we blame director Ivan Reitman for all of this? Should he start taking lessons from his son?

RC:
Not yet. He is, after all, the guy who directed Ghost Busters, so as far as I’m concerned he’s alright by me. I’m willing to write No Strings Attached off as a noble but so-so attempt at a modern rom-com. My fingers are still crossed for Ghostbusters 3.

 
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