‘No Strings Attached’ light, fluffy fun

I thought I was done with watching Ashton Kutcher in romantic comedies, but when he’s in one with Natalie Portman, it’s worth checking out.

That’s because we’re used to seeing Portman in much more serious roles–to watch her in a funny role like hers in No Strings Attached is a big departure.

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Unfortunately, the script was predictable and not edgy at all like I was praying for. It was still funny, if light, fare that was fun to watch, and if nothing else, at least it’s a not a movie Portman should be ashamed of. It sort of reminded me, pace- and writing-wise, of He’s Just Not That into You, so if you like that movie, you’ll like No Strings Attached.

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Portman plays Emma, a busy doctor who enters a casual physical relationship with Adam (Kutcher). Surprisingly, Adam is the good guy in the movie, not an a-hole character you might expect Kutcher to play. Soon, feelings develop between the pair, yadda yadda, you know what happenes next.

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It’s more of an ensemble movie than just focused on the twosome, and the supporting cast is great. If Kutcher annoys you, there are lots of other funny people to focus on, including Mindy Kaling from The Office.

As for Portman, comedy isn’t exactly her forte, but it is nice to see her in a semi-normal role. She’s a fine actress in any type of film, and she holds her own just fine here.

Go see this movie for a fun night with friends or a date night near Valentine’s Day. Just don’t go it you’re expecting anything groundbreaking.

‘Love and Other Drugs’ good for one thing: Jake Gyllenhaal

There’s only one way you’re going to like Love and Other Drugs: if you have a crush on Jake Gyllenhaal.

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Otherwise, forget it. Gyllenhaal’s the biggest redeeming factor in the movie, and the fact you get to see his naked butt might just be worth the ticket price alone.

While the movie tried to be an edgy comedy about modern relationships, it ended up being corny and predictable, with a horrible script and an even worse soundtrack.

And don’t even get me started on how much of Anne Hathaway’s topless form you’re subjected to. Her gratuitousness grosses me out, and it almost seems as if she enjoys baring her body in movies to come across as sexy or someone to take seriously, when she is neither of those.

Hathaway plays Maggie, a 20-something with early onset Parkinson’s Disease who insists she doesn’t want any type of relationship even though she’s fallen for Jamie (Gyllenhaal), a womanizer drug rep who, previous to meeting Maggie, thought the same thing.

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There’s not much else to say about the plot. All that really matters is that Gyllenhaal is the cutest thing next to a puppy, and he was fun to watch if only because of how charming he was. Other than that, this is one bad romantic comedy that is definitely worth waiting to rent.

‘Date Night’ and ‘The Bounty Hunter’ both way too corny to enjoy

When I went to see Date Night last night starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell, a big part of what drew me to the movie was the fact that James Franco and Mila Kunis made a cameo. Ever since seeing their spoof of Audrina and Justin Bobby on www.funnyordie.com, I knew whatever they did together would be comic gold.

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And, it was. Their moment in the movie was actually the best part, and while there were many humorous bits, the film’s not worth going to see just for Franco and Kunis.

The gist of the movie is that Fey and Carell’s characters get mistaken for some small-time crooks, and they get unknowingly involved in a complicated scheme that has them being chased by cops who are really criminals. Confused  yet?

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There’s also a part where Fey dresses up like a stripper, so if that’s always been your fantasy, maybe this is the right movie for you. For the rest of us, the action-packed movie is more slapstick than smart, and it’s disappointing because Fey and Carell could have been such a good duo.

Thankfully, the movie experience wasn’t too bad, since I saw it at the Westwind Scottsdale 6 Drive-In. This is probably the last week of perfect drive-in weather, and this type of movie experience is such a steal because tickets are only $6.50 each and include a second movie.

At our screen, the second movie was Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler’s The Bounty Hunter, which I was mildly interested in seeing because I like Aniston, but the film was so predictable and corny that we left half-way through. 0-2 on movie success, but at least laying down in your car to watch it under the stars is a fun experience.

Celebrate this weekend with your honey, not by seeing ‘Valentine’s Day’

OMG! Like, I totally saw Valentine’s Day last night and it was like, ohmigosh, SO FUN!!

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I feel like you sort of have to talk like that if you’re going to enjoy Valentine’s Day. The incredibly sappy, cheesy movie is the cliche of what a romantic comedy is, and we’ve already seen a better version of an ensemble feel-good movie–Love Actually.

Valentine’s Day employs the same style of intersecting over 20 characters lives in Los Angeles during the day of February 14. You’ve got Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, Julia Roberts, Topher Grace…seriously, the list goes on and on. The cast is definitely attractive and fun to look at, but the script is pure fluff.

You’ve got the old couple who wonders if their love can last after a secret from many years ago is revealed. You’ve got the young kid looking to profess his love to his secret crush. You’ve got the best friends who never thought of hooking up romantically, until now.

And I bet you can guess how each of those scenarios turns out.

My favorite part of the movie involves Bradley Cooper. I’m sure you’ve already heard what happens, but let’s just say I literally clapped when we found out something awesome about his character.

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And even though I’m usually annoyed by Jessica Biel, she was actually one of the more likable, relatable characters, especially if you’re a single 20-something woman.

While the movie was never boring because there was so much action going on, I could have watched it on mute and been just as happy because it was so predictable (except for the whole Cooper scene.) And, are we really supposed to buy Roberts’ character as being a soldier?

Sadly, Kutcher and Swift’s performances were the most disappointing of the movie, because every time they were on-screen they were so annoying–Kutcher, annoyingly sweet and happy; Swift, just shrieky and ditzy. And, of course, they both luck out with a lot of screen time.

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I actually convinced my boyfriend to see this movie with me, and I apologized to him the whole way through. If you or someone you know is not a romantic comedy fan, unlike Love Actually, there really isn’t anything endearing to Valentine’s Day. But if you have a couple hours and $10 to burn and want to watch one of the most attractive film casts in history on-screen, then it’s a fun ride that doesn’t require any thought whatsoever.

‘(500) Days of Summer’ reflects any relationship

Chances are, if you’ve ever had any type of romantic relationship whatsoever, you will be able to relate to ‘(500) Days of Summer,’ a new movie chronicling a relationship between characters played by the adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.

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The indie flick, only playing at Harkins Camelview in Scottsdale, takes us on a journey through courtship, love and heartbreak between the pair, and the result is both hysterical and heartwrenching. Summer (Deschanel) insists to Tom (Gordon-Levitt) that she doesn’t ever want to be in a relationship, though the two act like they’re in love and do stuff only couples do.

The movie’s so brutally honest that even though there are plenty of humorous moments, including a kick-as* dance scene starring Tom, it will still leave your stomach in knots pondering the complexity of relationships. And that’s a great thing–it’s a movie that provokes thought but is still sweet and heartwarming.

The stars are gorgeously charming. Both are stunners you can’t take your eyes away from, and the quirkiness they bring to the roles is relatable and magnetic.

Besides the excellent acting, the film also employs a few artistic style choices, including using a narrator, presenting the plot non-linearly and using animation. The result is a beautiful visual film with a beautiful message. And yes, it’s OK to take a date to. Despite the heavy subject matter, it’s sweet and will still leave you smiling.