No Strings Attached

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
No Strings Attached Movie Poster Image
Sexy romcom is cliched but surprisingly sweet.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 110 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 22 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

Amid the frank sexual content, there's a romantic message: You can’t choose who you love, and you can’t control how to fall in love. There's also the suggestion that no matter how accomplished you are, life isn't complete without love.

Positive role models & representations

The two main characters may be neurotic and full of bravado, but they’re also appealingly human. And though they might be confused about what a real relationship entails, they're kind and caring toward each other.

Violence

A young man punches an older man in the stomach.

Sex

The movie revolves around the idea of two friends hooking up purely for sexual gratification. They're shown in various states of undress -- him in nothing but a towel to cover his privates, her in underwear -- and in compromising positions. There are plenty of innuendos, and sex is discussed with much candor, including specific acts. Two women are shown making out.

Language

Language includes frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "c--k," "damn," "ass," "bitch," "crap," "oh my God," and more.

Consumerism

Brands that are name- or label-checked include BMW, Stella Artois, Jolly Rancher, 7-Up, Patron, and Prius.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

A father smokes a joint with his adult son. Later, the father has a bad reaction to a concoction whose main ingredient is cough syrup. A woman gets inebriated at a party; scenes of social drinking. Jokes about cocaine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this R-rated Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman romantic comedy is decidedly adult fare. It's a frank exploration of a modern-day relationship that's founded on a largely sexual basis, so you can expect plenty of unfiltered talk about sex, as well as characters shown in various states of undress and in compromising positions. There's also frequent swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t"), social drinking, and references to drugs. Despite the mature content (and plenty of romcom cliches), the movie is surprisingly sweet and does address questions about commitment.

User Reviews

Parent of a 9 and 13 year old Written bySmuddpie January 21, 2011
I admit I haven't seen it. I was absolutely appalled when the ads for this aired on TV. The commercials are completely inappropriate. You are watching...
Parent Written byZhash November 10, 2012

No Strings Attached

Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material.
Teen, 16 years old Written bycayou January 30, 2011
it's good
Teen, 14 years old Written byThink Watch Learn January 23, 2011

Good Conversation Starter-Not much worse than a PG-13

This movie was very enjoyable. As the title says the two main charecters are "friends with benefits." Alothough this is a racy idea it is presented ni...

What's the story?

Emma Kurtzman (Natalie Portman) and Adam Franklin (Ashton Kutcher) meet as 14-year-olds at Camp Weehawken, where Adam makes an awkward (and crass) pass that Emma turns down. Later, they run into each other at a frat party at Adam’s college, but even that moment slips away. It’s not until they get reacquainted again in Los Angeles, where Emma’s doing her residency at a hospital and Adam is working on a Glee-like TV show, that they finally become friends ... with benefits. Adam’s eager to date, but Emma’s not up for anything more than casual sex. Or is she?

Is it any good?

The set-up is standard issue and lacking in conflict, the dialogue hokey. Cliches are everywhere, including one particularly aggravating scene that has Portman’s character stuffing her face with donut holes after a romantic disappointment while listening to songs with Significance (with a capital S, naturally). Must every romcom include a scene in which women ease their heartache by overeating?

Yet NO STRINGS ATTACHED is surprisingly entertaining. Like the role or not, Portman commits to Emma, and we, in turn, commit to her. (Not so much with Kutcher’s Adam, though he’s not terrible.) The rest of the ensemble -- Mindy Kaling, Greta Gerwig, Kevin Kline, and Lake Bell -- is also impressive; they're a ridiculously talented bunch who make the usual supporting-cast peccadilloes amusing. It’s also refreshing to have the female character as the one who’s commitment-phobic, while the guy sits around waiting for his phone to ring (or ping with a text, as they do these days). All of these pluses distract from the film’s flaws, but you may still ultimately have trouble forgiving them.

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.

  • 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

For kids who love comedy and romance

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