I like Ashton Kutcher. Generally his
films havenít been well received by any critic but me, so I usually
include a preamble with this declaration. And, generally, Iíve liked
his films mainly because of his performances. This one isnít as
enjoyable as the ones in the past; itís OK, but the lower quality is
not Kutcherís fault.
Natalie Portman is a
relationship-challenged doctor who, in response to Ashtonís interest
in her, suggests they have an emotion-free, sex-only relationship.
Although the story is predictable, if not trite, there are a few
lines funny enough to elicit audible laughs.
Portman, who is basking in the glow of
fawning reviews for her performance in Black Swan, has an
unfortunate smile that makes it looks as if sheís suffering an
attack of diarrhea every time she flashes it. But, while not as
goofy as in Black Swan, sheís still a head case here, giving
another fine performance.
Among the good things about this
romcom are the wonderful locations set in and around Los Angeles,
including Marina del Rey, romantically captured by D.P. Rogier
Stoffers, whose credits include fine work on Disturbia
Directed by Ivan Reitman from a script
by Elizabeth Meriwether, the movie has a very low moral tone and
includes lots of profane language and F bombs, but no nudity.
However, it probably represents a pretty clear picture of the sorry
moral state of young adults today. I know for a fact that even
18-year-old middle class sorority girls at one major Los Angeles
University, who should have been raised with better morals, dress up
like hookers and go out, starting at 10 p.m., to find a stranger
(generally a fellow student) with whom to have sex. I saw this film
at a non-media screening and there was lots of laughter from the
young females in the audience at the free sex and profane lines in
the film. This is clearly a film aimed at a young adult audience for
whom irresponsible sexual promiscuity is an every day occurrence.
They are probably encouraged to this life style by movies like this,
so itís a vicious circle.
Despite the caliber of the material
with which he is given to work, Kutcher gives a fine performance,
which raises the quality of the final result. There are also some
supporting roles that deserve mention. Kevin Kline gives a nice
performance as Kutcherís Hefneresque father, chasing after young
women as if he were Lakersí septuagenarian owner Jerry Buss. Gary
David Goldberg, better known as the executive producer of wildly
successful sitcoms Family Ties and Spin City, makes an
appearance as one of Portmanís relatives. Finally, Lake Bell gives a
performance as a girl clumsily infatuated with Kutcher that makes
one yearn for more. Frankly, I was rooting for her to win his heart.
If you can put up with its hedonistic
morality, it is moderately entertaining.