Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Kunis's easy authority grounds the movie, while Timberlake tapdances delightfully around the edges.
Gluck is clearly whip smart and he likes his films that way. This all to the good, but much of "Friends with Benefits" comes off as too showy in its cleverness.
In an age of connect-the-dots screenwriting, the sheer verbosity of Friends With Benefits is a form of generosity, and Gluck has the ideal cast to spew it out.
San Francisco Chronicle:
This film's harshness and starkness will strike some people as vulgar, but if you reject it on that basis you might as well just reject the times you're living in.
It's just sad that a movie suggesting an honest and zesty approach to sex and relationships builds to such a conventional ending...
Kunis and Timberlake achieve the trickier feat of looking just as happy hanging out as they do sucking face, and when the cliches inevitably come rolling in, they feel earned rather than like a cop-out.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
Fast-paced and fabulously fake, Friends With Benefits is the Red Bull of romantic comedies, unapologetically delivering a hyperactive, synthetic buzz.
Timberlake and Kunis definitely bring sexy back to a tired formula. If only the movie had been worthy of their expertly playful pairing.
The fun is in enjoying the two leads, both strikingly good, and the extra (if sometimes misplaced) textures provided by a strong supporting cast including Richard Jenkins, Patricia Clarkson and Jenna Elfman.
Whenever the film gets away from Timberlake and Kunis' flirty banter, it feels like an unfortunate distraction.
Ironically, what "Friends With Benefits" shares most with "No Strings Attached" is that you can see everything coming, with no surprises. Where's the fun in that?
Kunis and Timberlake have the rapid-fire patter of Hepburn and Tracy, if Hepburn and Tracy had conversations about Olympic snowboarder Shaun White's pubic hair.
The jokes don't all work and the topical references can be irritably hipper-than-thou, but at least director and cowriter Will Gluck aims high: this is patterned on the Tracy and Hepburn comedies, albeit with a lot more skin.
I enjoy both Timberlake and Kunis; just this side of manic, they seem right together.
Christian Science Monitor:
Timberlake and Kunis try hard to keep this charm machine purring, and they do indeed have traces of chemistry... But their chemistry is at the service of a science project we've all seen before.
Dallas Morning News:
Though it aims to upend the increasingly defunct romantic-comedy genre, Friends With Benefits quickly falls prey to the same cliches.
Directed with quick-witted ease by Will Gluck, the [film is a] frank, frisky, even touching romantic comedy.
Eric D. Snider,
It succeeds, thanks to comedic chemistry between the two leads and nimble direction by Will Gluck.
Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis make for engaging leads in this unexpectedly fresh R-rated comedy.
Los Angeles Times:
Even with all their huffing and puffing, this very salty, often funny affair is never quite as satisfying as it should be.
It evaporates from memory, just like a one-night stand that didn't go nearly as well as you'd hoped.
Friends with Benefits is fast, allusive, urban, glamorous -- clearly the Zeitgeist winner of the summer.
Kunis and Timberlake are winningly comfortable with one another, even if the movie isn't always comfortable with itself.
New York Daily News:
"Friends With Benefits" isn't nearly as original as it pretends to be. But it's cute and funny and sweet, which -- as any woman can attest -- puts it way ahead of most Friday night options.
New York Post:
Will Gluck's bright screwball farce has witty dialogue that sparkles, at least by debased 21st-century standards.
One of the strengths of Friends with Benefits is that Timberlake and Kunis are likeable and display enough chemistry to keep us interested in their inevitable pairing.
"Friends With Benefits" follows rom-com formulas as if directed on autopilot, but that's not to say it isn't fun.
Despite a pair of livewires in the leads, Friends With Benefits is just not enough.
"Friends With Benefits" is often uproariously and profanely funny, and anchored in high-spirited performances from its central duo, who are well matched as comic foils if oddly lacking in erotic electricity.
Friends With Benefits is a dumb, by-the-numbers romantic comedy. Yet I kept finding small things to enjoy in it, mainly because of the two hard-to-hate leads.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
A savvy, satirical date movie that holds the conventions of romantic comedy up to self-aware spoofing while still delivering the goods.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
As a predictable romantic fantasy, "Friends with Benefits" profits from two lively and likable stars who maintain our interest. But as the sexual satire in which we invested, there's no payoff.
Anyone who has ever seen a romantic comedy before knows where this one is going.
Mary F. Pols,
It is elevated by energetic dialogue, the sexual chemistry between the leads and the fact that the miscommunication that keeps bliss at bay - there's always one in a rom-com, and usually it is annoyingly unbelievable - is plausible.
The chemistry between Kunis and her co-star Justin Timberlake is electric.
It's one of those rare made-in-Hollywood couplings that transcends the ordinary stuff of movies, like plot and sense and credibility.
The script exhausts its originality awfully quickly, with subsequent hookups recycling jokes from other movies.
What's most crushing is witnessing what should have been the dream pairing of Kunis and Timberlake -- both foxy, loose, confident performers -- here generating zero chemistry.
If "Friends With Benefits" ultimately succumbs to the very sins it so cleverly deconstructs, it still commits those infractions with a welcome degree of wit and, when it slows down enough, spirited flair.