Friends with Benefits

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Friends with Benefits Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Lots of sexual content in formulaic but sweet romcom.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 26 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the sexual content, the message is that true love wins out, and that's always heartwarming and uplifting. But the movie makes a big deal about how romantic comedies raise unusual expectations about love ... and ends up doing the same thing itself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both Jamie and Dylan have good hearts and are actually supportive of each other. Jamie's mother isn't always mindful of her daughter's needs, but there's no malice, and Jamie is forgiving to her. Dylan, though pained by his father's Alzheimer's, is kind and solicitous.

Violence
Sex

You name it, they depict it (though there are no full-frontal shots or total nudity): Oral sex, intercourse (in many different positions and places), etc. There's plenty of raunchy talk, too, about both straight and gay sex, as well as open discussions about which acts are pleasurable and which aren't.

Language

Frequent (if not relentless) use of everything from "f--k" and "s--t" to "damn," "a--hole," "goddamn," "d--k," "p---y," and "c--k," though not a relentless amount of usage.

Consumerism

Some labels/brands, especially GQ magazine, which is name-checked a few times. Some placement of Sony products, including a Vaio laptop and an Ericsson phone; T-Mobile is mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking at parties and in bars and restaurants.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this R-rated romcom stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as adult friends who decide to make their relationship sexual with no commitments (hence the "benefits" of the title). Consequently, there's plenty of frank, direct sexual talk and content, with partial nudity, simulated sex acts, innuendoes, and free-wheeling discussions about sexual preferences and relationships. There's also social drinking and swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k"). It's adult fare, but it does ultimately have positive messages about true love.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfreehope. March 21, 2012

I really enjoyed the film although certainly not for young teens

Both main characters are good people who are genuinely best friends. Kunis and Timberlake have excellent chemistry and are hilarious as a duo. Great lines for b... Continue reading
Adult Written bydvdgirl June 21, 2020

Good

Just like no strings attached I’ll have to watch it more.
Teen, 17 years old Written byBps 20999 October 19, 2018
Teen, 15 years old Written byJack321 December 27, 2017

Friends with benefits

Good movie very funny but 14+ in my opinion rated R in us and 15 in uk but 14 in my opinion

What's the story?

Hard-driving executive recruiter Jamie (Mila Kunis) successfully persuades up-and-coming art director Dylan (Justin Timberlake) to take a job offer from GQ magazine and move to New York from California. Before long, they've become good friends, watching (and deriding) romantic comedies, exploring the city, and getting to know each other. They've each just extricated themselves from a hilariously dysfunctional relationship and aren't eager to jump into new ones. One problem: They miss sex. Hence the agreement to be each other's commitment-free "friend with benefits." The arrangement works like a charm ... until it doesn't. Can their friendship survive the complications that romantic feelings bring, or should they be friends no more?

Is it any good?

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS may be formulaic, but surprisingly it's still pretty good. It tries hard to rise above the romcom cliches -- even going so far as to mock the fantasies that the worst movies of the genre spin -- though it inevitably follows the same trajectories, serving up a happily-ever-after ending that the audience spots from the moment the two leads meet.

 

Still, Friends with Benefits is surprisingly entertaining, thanks in part to Kunis -- who combines comedic chops with gorgeous-but-approachable looks and a winning personality -- and a parade of gifted supporting actors (Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, and the always tip-top Patricia Clarkson and Richard Jenkins) who can do no wrong. Timberlake manages to stay above water; sometimes, he's even persuasively charming. Yet you have to wonder what this movie could have been had it not given into the expected outcome, coming up instead with an ending that would still be satisfying but bold and -- dare we say it -- more realistic. No such luck.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea of a "friends with benefits" relationship. What messages does that kind of arrangement convey about love and commitment? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values when it comes to dating and relationships.

  • The movie suggests that romantic comedies create unrealistic expectations in both men and (especially) women about relationships. Does this movie attempt to change these expectations or foster them?

  • Ultimately, what's the appeal of romantic comedies? Although they tend to follow the same predictable formula, they remain popular. Why do you think that is?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and comedy

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