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Movie Review

Friends with Benefits

MPAA Rating: R for sexual content and language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romance Comedy
2 hr.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 22, 2011 (wide—2,700+ theaters)
DVD: December 2, 2011
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Relevant Issues
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PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

My boyfriend wants to have sex. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer


TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Justin Timberlake … Dylan
Mila KunisJamie
Patricia ClarksonLorna
Jenna Elfman … Annie
Bryan Greenberg … Parker
Richard JenkinsMr. Harper
Woody HarrelsonTommy
Nolan Gould … Sam
Andy SambergQuincy
Emma StoneKayla
more »
Director: Will Gluck
Producer: Castle Rock Entertainment
Olive Bridge Entertainment
Screen Gems
Zucker Productions
more »
Distributor: Screen Gems

Jamie (Mila Kunis) is an executive headhunter in New York City, who recruits Dylan (Justin Timberlake) from Los Angeles in order to apply for the art director position at GQ magazine. After a charming tour of NYC, Jamie convinces Dylan to take the position and begin a new life in the Big Apple.

The two strike up a friendship and share how they both were recently dumped. Jamie’s boyfriend ended things, stating that she was too difficult emotionally. While Dylan’s girlfriend claimed he was too emotionally unavailable. One night, they both state that they miss sex and decide to include sex in their relationship with a couple of rules: no emotions, no relationships.

“Friends with Benefits” isn’t the anti-romantic comedy it advertises itself to be. At times, the film does poke fun at some of the cliché elements of romantic comedies, but even this film couldn’t entirely escape the requirements of its genre. Though the direction of the characters’ relationship is entirely predictable, the journey is stocked full of witty references to increase the laughs. Though there are some laughs, it left us with a rushed ending, which even used the epitome of romantic comedies: the dramatic declaration of love.

Copyrighted, Screen GemsWhat makes the film notable are the performances. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake have good chemistry, and enough time is spent to allow them to develop a genuine friendship. Though Jamie and Dylan strive to have a friendship with the added benefit of uncommitted sex, some characters within the film tell them it’s a bad idea. One scene, in particular, felt realistic, when Jamie overhears Dylan saying awful things about her and how their having sex didn’t matter. Of course, she is crushed, and I felt this scene was well written to show that emotions are involved in physical intimacy.

Objectionable content

Christians shouldn’t be surprised at the content of the film, especially given its title. With that warning and its accompanying rating, “Friends with Benefits” is an adult comedy with high amounts of sexual content. Though lessons are learned, premarital sex is treated as a normal part of relationships (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8).

Before agreeing to sex with seemingly no strings attached, Jamie says that she’s a good girl and pulls up her Bible app. She and Dylan put their hands on the Bible and swear to have no emotion or relationship during sex. Besides the obvious contradiction, James 5:12 reads:

“Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ no…”

Sexual jokes, discussions and profanity are used throughout the entire film. In all, there are at least 76 uses of vulgarity and profanity, including 21 sh_t and 25 f_ck. In addition, the words d_ck and c_ck are used often; p*ssy is used around 3 times. Since Dylan and Jamie are having sex without the complications of a relationship, they freely share their sexual quirks, such as sneezing during an orgasm, etc. They also give each other instructions and feedback during sex.

There are several sex scenes with the characters in different positions, and during one scene they give each other oral sex. Most of the nudity is covered up by the bed sheets. However, there are still some instances of it. About four times, a male’s backside is zoomed in on, in one instance, a female’s. The side of Jamie’s breasts are shown, as well. There’s a video displayed of a topless woman dipping her breasts into batter. There’s, also, a photo of a woman in scanty lingerie posted on a Web site, in the beginning of the film.

As a Christian, I cannot recommend “Friends with Benefits”, especially considering how I didn’t even mention every instance of sexual immorality within the film. This movie accurately displays some of the world’s current standard on casual sex (1 Corinthians 6:12-17). What we must remember is that this worldly standard is not of God and goes against Scripture.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—It is difficult to imagine a more offensive “romantic” comedy than this one, unless it were set in a brothel. When one compares a secular gem like “My Best Friend’s Wedding” with this filth, one can see the decay in the culture and public taste.

Having to say the above unequivocally is, for me, sad, because I like Mila Kunis. She is not conventionally pretty in an American sense, but she is the epitome of the gorgeous Ukrainian Jewish refugee who has made good in the USA with hard work and street smarts and a strong family background, borne of active persecution—which is exactly her upbringing and her background. Her basic good nature is underlined by her attending a Marine Corps ball.

Her parents ought to be ashamed of her role in this film. It is indicative of the moral sickness in Hollywood that such a girl has obviously been enticed to play such a perverted role. There is nothing for Christians in this film. I actually think that it would be less corrupting to view explicit nude photographs for the 2 hours of the movie. It legitimizes conduct that is disgraceful.

The ending does not redeem the poison that is in this movie. I appreciate that the nature of Kunis” character is such—as the daughter of a hippie—that this behavior is not wholly “out there”. But digging out “60s sub-cultures in order to mask a prurient interest in sex is an old pornographer’s game and, no matter how elegantly executed, we—as Christians—do not have to accept it. Keep your daughters, in particular, away from this trash.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—BP, age 53 (Australia)

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