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Jamie is a headhunter ("I prefer corporate recruiter") who lures Dylan, a website art director, to New York to interview for GQ. He takes the job and the pair become close friends, eventually agreeing to have sex — just sex, with no further attachment — while they're on a break from romance. They both go through a few other people in the film and deal with issues surrounding their parents, and the ending actually comes off as refreshing and real rather than obvious and contrived like most of its genre.
Generally critically praised, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 71%, with frequent mentions given to its realistic story, the chemistry and charisma of its leads, and of course, the entertainment value. It's frequently compared favorably to Scream with its self-aware characters and poking fun at its own genre.
- Director Allusion:
- Affectionate Parody: The two leads mock many conventions of traditional romantic comedies and even when Dylan stages a 'movie like reconcillation at the climax' he says how impractical it is in real life. The movie still follows the same format and ends the same way.
- As Himself: Shaun White, hilariously
- Backhanded Apology
- Big Applesauce: New York is basically a character and the differences between New Yorker Jamie and Los Angeles native Dylan are played up.
- Broken Bird: Jamie acknowledges herself as such because of bad previous relationships.
- Buxom Is Better: Brilliantly subverted.
Jamie: Really? But I think they're so tiny...
- The Cameo: Emma Stone as Dylan's ex and Timberlake's friend Andy Samberg as Jamie's, as well as Jason Segel and Rashida Jones.
- Disappeared Dad: Jamie has no idea who her father is - mostly because her mother is pretty fuzzy on the details too.
- Dueling Movies: With No Strings Attached.
- Exact Eavesdropping: When Jamie overhears Annie pressing Dylan about their relationship and he is extremely harsh towards her.
- Fanservice: Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis naked! What else is there to say?
- Fiery Redhead: Shaun White & Emma Stone
- Friends with Benefits: Obviously.
- Freudian Excuse: Both Dylan and Jamie's issues are directly connected to their parents' disastrous attempts at love.
- Genre Savvy: Where a lot of the movie's comedy and deconstruction comes from.
- Hollywood Sex: Averted, there's a lot of direction and negative reactions at the start.
- Interrupted Intimacy: By Jamie's mom, no less.
- Jizzed in My Pants: Dylan jokes about it.
- Just Friends: Maintained for much of the movie.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Annie on Dylan and Jamie.
- Missing Mom: Dylan's mother left his father 10 years before the movie.
- Mood Whiplash: It's all frothy fun and games and witty repartee, until Dylan's dad, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, is introduced. Then the scene dives straight into awkward and heartbreaking.
- The Mountains of Illinois: Parodied in the film-within-a-film Jamie and Dylan watch. The characters are riding in a horse-drawn carriage, pointing out New York landmarks with rows of palm trees clearly visible in the background.
- Averted by the movie itself in that all scenes were shot in either New York or Los Angeles. However the interior of the New York GQ offices were a set in LA and although they were in NY, the Empire State Building behind mila in the opening scene was digitally painted in.
- Fun fact: this was the first movie that actors were allowed on the actual Hollywood Sign.
- Parents Walk in At the Worst Time
- Product Placement:
- Jamie sure does love her iPad, and both of them their iPhones.
- GQ gets a lot of shots of their logo in the movie as that's where Dylan works.
- Running Gag: Dylan insists that "Closing Time" is by Third Eye Blind, until the final scene when he finds out it's actually Semisonic.
- Also Jamie blinks when she curses, and Dylan is rather insulting to pilots every time he is on a plane. In a later scene this is shown to have been picked up from his father.
- Say My Name: Played for laughs.
- Sex Montage: When Jamie and Dylan first take up.
- In the commentary Mila and Justin refer to it as a "fuck-tage."
- Sarcasm Mode: Dylan's introduction features this, and both leads make heavy use of it.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend
- Smells Sexy: Hilarious for the audience, incredibly creepy for Dylan when he tries to sleep with someone other than Jamie.
- Straight Gay: Tommy — played by Harrelson — is the sports editor at GQ and generally acts traditionally manly, and also is very open about being gay.
- Stylistic Suck: The film-within-a-film the leads watch several times.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Both leads.