Film & TV

"No Strings Attached" Review: Natalie Portman Follows "Black Swan" With —Surprise— an Awfully Good Romantic Comedy

No Strings Attached is extremely narrow in focus: It's "just" about two people in lust struggling to put away their respective baggage in order to have a real relationship with each other. Adam (Ashton Kutcher) drunkenly texts every girl in his phone and wakes up the next morning at the apartment of medical resident Emma (Natalie Portman). The pair begin rendezvousing during her off-hours, and the more she insists she doesn't believe in romance and warns him against falling in love, the harder he pushes to change her mind. Adam is such perfect boyfriend material that the film repeatedly makes a joke out of it; Emma is so unfamiliar with anything like traditional romance that when it comes along, she panics. No Strings Attached takes a moribund stock genre skeleton and animates it with multilayered characters who speak in the casual cadences of real people.

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Karina Longworth