5 Something Borrowed
Based on the chick-lit by the same name, this is the story of Rachel, a young lawyer who sleeps with her best friend’s fiancé. Fortunately, Rachel and fiancé should have been together in the first place and the best-friend is self centered and overbearing so it’s all ok. Instead of characters, we’re given caricatures and just have to hope that the original book developed them more than the movie can. In the meantime, we’re asked to relate to universally beautiful, wealthy people with successful and prestigious careers, without seeing much else to them. We’re told a lot of things that are supposed to make us think that everyone is deeper than they look and that certain behaviors are excusable because of emotional scarring but we’re not actually shown much of it. The result is characters that just seem mean.
4 Friends with Benefits
For awhile there you think this could be something new. A couple who state outright that they won’t fall into the rom-com clichés, despite the fact that they are sleeping together with no strings attached. But what starts out as a witty satire of formulaic chick-flicks eventually turns into a formulaic chick-flick and not a particularly witty one. Having said that, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake pull it off pretty well. They’ve got a good dynamic that carries them through so even if it doesn’t become a favorite, this movie can satisfy the need for a rom-com fix.
3 No Strings Attached
Ok, before we even get into it try to guess what this movie’s about. If you guessed “two friends decide to use each other for sex and then fall in love” then you were right. 10 points for you. Natalie Portman usually does better than this and Ashton Kutcher, who could do better, does almost nothing here. At least the supporting cast is good and features Mindy Kaling and Cary Elwes, whom we love. It is that supporting cast and the secondary plots which are really this movie’s redeeming factor. Think When Harry Met Sally with a lot more sex and a lot less of the wonderful Billy Crystal. Uch.
2 Gnomeo and Juliet
Ok, fine, so it’s a kid’s movie. But it’s based on Romeo and Juliet so it has to be romantic, right? Well, sort of. It’s a little hard to get swept off your feet by garden gnomes but this comes as close as you can. The tale takes place on the lawns of two rival gardeners and all of Shakespeare’s characters are replaced by statuary. Although it doesn’t keep up with movies like Shrek and Toy Story in terms of gags for the moms, it’s got plenty of hidden Shakespeare and drug references for all of the stoner thespians out there. At the end of the day though it’s just a cute retelling of a classic, which is just what you want sometimes.
1 Just Go With It
This movie is everything you would expect a rom-com starring Adam Sandler to be. He plays a wealthy plastic surgeon that goes around telling women that he’s married in order to avoid commitment. Unfortunately, one woman who he actually is interesting in pursuing long-term, won’t date a married man because her parents divorced over infidelity. Because just being wrong apparently isn’t enough. So Sandler is forced to get his hard-working office manager (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his wife that he is in the process of divorcing. Because after all, what other choice did he have? Then Aniston’s kids get involved in the lie and it continues to grow and spiral out of control until they land in a big web of lies on a Hawaiian vacation. The mistaken identities are eventually unraveled and Sandler and Aniston realize they should have been together all along. Surprise!
Can you think of any chick-flicks that show a better side of 2011? Let’s hear it!