Friends with Benefits is one of those rare comedies that repeats the exact same formula of another comedy and succeeds on a higher level. Friends with Benefits works not because it has a stronger story, but because it has characters that are believable. The film focuses on Jamie and Dylan. The two leads of the film meet in a set unexpected circumstances when Jamie ends up trying to recruit Dylan for a job at GQ magazine in New York. Jamie and Dylan become friends which leads them to eventually start a friends with benefits type relationship because they are both emotionally damaged.
Friends with Benefits works because the relationship between Jamie and Dylan isn’t played for laughs. During the film, I actually wanted to get to know these characters. I wanted to find out why their relationships had failed. Caring about a character in a film is the first sign for me that a film is working. I cared about Dylan played by Justin Timberlake. I didn’t like him because he was genuine, he was still an archetype of what a male lead in a movie supposed to be. I liked how he handled his life and the frailty and range Justin Timberlake showed as an actor once it was unearthed that the man who was his hero was now slipping away because of Alzheimer’s Disease. The hero I speak of is Dylan’s father who was a journalist. I like the chemistry between Dylan and Jamie throughout the film because even though their relationship is predictable, it is also believable. This is something No Strings Attached was not.
While this film will not go down in history as a romantic comedy classic, it is entertaining enough to enjoy with someone special. Just don’t expect benefits afterwards.