2011 may not only go down as the year of the alien, but also the year that Hollywood decided it was tired of making rom-coms about regular monogamous relationships. The latest addition to the growing pile of studio productions about "unconventional" romances is that of Friends with Benefits.
Friends with Benefits goes the route of the non-committal-but-physically-intimate relationship, and its new trailer literally denounces the conventional Hollywood romantic comedy... and yet, somehow, seems to also embrace just about every cliché of the genre there is.
Mila Kunis (Black Swan) and Justin Timberlake (The Social Network), both fresh from starring in two of last year's Best Picture Oscar nominees - just marinate on that for a second - play the casual couple at the heart of Friends with Benefits. Director Will Gluck (Easy A) surrounded the two with quite the solid collection of supporting players, including Emma Stone, Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins, Woody Harrelson, Rashida Jones, and Andy Samberg.
A red-band trailer for Friends with Benefits was released several months back, but this new theatrical preview is MPAA-approved and family-friendly... enough. Also, unlike the recent green band trailer for Bad Teacher, this Friends trailer both cuts out the R-Rated material and includes a good deal of not-yet-glimpsed footage.
Check it out below (for a HD version, watch it on Facebook):
Nowadays it seems that flicks about infidelity during marriage (The Dilemma, Hall Pass), infidelity involving friends (Something Borrowed), open relationships (No Strings Attached, Love and Other Drugs), or attraction that crosses the species barriers (Hop - kidding... sort of) are all the rage. That's all well and good, but the rather tired staples of the rom-com genre still seem to be alive and thriving, too.
Friends with Benefits may fashion itself as more of a hip and edgy look at modern-day relationships, but based off what's on display in the latest trailer ("eccentric" but one-dimensional supporting characters, contrived setups, general sit-com humor), it's just another run-of-the-mill rom-com.
That's not to say that Kunis and Timberlake won't have great chemistry as an onscreen couple or that Friends with Benefits won't blend adult humor with a more complicated examination of a contemporary relationship. Based off the footage shown here, however, the film's portrayal of modern romance may not be all that more believable than that of The Ugly Truth's - despite what Kunis' character thinks.
Friends with Benefits arrives in theaters this summer on July 22nd.