12 December 2011

No Strings Attached (2011)

Traditionally I have always gravitated toward romantic-comedies as a film genre, which was probably initiated by my two sisters and solidified by my lack of brothers; but we don't generally watch those cliche, "I love you and you love me so let's get married" movies. Instead, we enjoy the screwball/romantic comedies mix that provide tons of humor and offer usually unrealistic but comical hope in the end. No Strings Attached (2011) incorporates both romantic and screwball comedy techniques in order to carry out a ridiculous plot and provide a framework for the classical genre narrative.

After meeting at summer camp, Emma and Adam lose touch but find themselves reconnecting at various points in their adult lives. When they stumble across each other once again and discover that they live in the same city, they decide to become friends with benefits; they establish that if deeper feelings are generated they will discontinue all habits, and obviously conflict arises when they find themselves falling hard for each other.

Of course the two are forced to work out their issues so they can finally be together, but this story is more than a simply love story. The fast-talking verbal gymnastics between the two protagonists offer a witty banter and illustrate awkward exchanges, ultimately causing humor to take first place while the romance stays in second. Like your typical screwball comedy, the independent and self-sufficient woman challenges the social rules of her social world by becoming a doctor and refusing to be taken care of by a man. We often associate her actions with those of a stereotypical, modern man: leaving right after sex, refusing to go on dates, and wearing the pants in the relationship. The sexual jokes and somewhat raunchy actions of the female protagonist challenge the accepted stereotype of women in society, which makes it both funny and unexpected.

Naturally there is a "concentration on the emotional attraction of the couple in a consistently lighthearted manner" (Corrigan, White 345), which exemplifies the narrative for a traditional romantic comedy. The two leading characters are forced to look into themselves and grow as individuals so that they can ultimately end up happy together.

The film was enjoyable because it is lighthearted and doesn't really make you think about life, which is relatively commensurate with all of the other romantic comedies. Coming off of some of the recent, intense movies we have watch, it was very easy to see how fluid all of the cuts were in this particular film. The invisible editing is a direct correspondence with the Hollywood continuity style of editing, and I actually discovered it to be rather boring. No Strings Attached is enjoyably humorous, but if you're looking for your world to be rocked, I might not recommend it.

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