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Review: Friends With Benefits

19 Jul

My friend Holly has a DC Film Society membership so she often receives passes to movies before they open locally. Tonight, as her guest, I was treated to a sneak peak of “Friends With Benefits,” the movie starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis that — based on the previews — you’re pretty sure is a remake of something you saw last year.

And that’s where you’ll be pleasantly surprised: although this movie does honor the time-tested formula of a romantic comedy, it manages to weave in so many laugh-out-loud funny lines and fresh details that you don’t even care. It’s just a straight-up great time, and this is coming from a girl who is no great fan of romantic comedies.

JT and Mila have believable chemistry and play off each other solidly, but the real gems in this movie are the quirky side characters — including Woody Harrelson as a rather masculine gay sports writer for GQ, and Patricia Clarkson as Mila’s flaky, hippy mom — who get to deliver some of the funniest stand-alone lines.

Now I’m not saying this would be my top pick for men heading out to the movies, but — if they were dragged by girlfriends who won the weekend coin toss — I am confident they would surprise themselves by actually busting a gut at times. (And it doesn’t hurt that Kunis spends a fair amount of time rolling around in her teeny tiny underwear.)

You know who SHOULDN’T see this movie? Anyone who thinks that “friends with benefits” actually means “pals with  healthcare plans.” Because this is a movie centered around sex and its ability to complicate even the simplest of relationships. So if you’re not hip enough to know what “friends with benefits” actually means, chances are, you might find this movie a bit too racy for your taste.

Unless you’re this badass couple, in which case: AWESOME. You’re retired and you’ve won contest sponsored by KY Jelly. Somehow, I don’t think they’d be flustered.

So, overall, how to summarize this flick in a way that is movie-poster quotable?

Friends With Benefits: Almost as fun as an old-fashioned romp in the sack.

I think the word for you, ma’am, is “cornhole.”

19 Jul

Actually, ma'am, you might want to rethink how you're handling the corn.

Sunday morning I had just approached the corn table at the farmer’s market when an older woman muscled in next to me with her basket.

I sized up the corn and selected an ear, peeling a small bit of the husk down about half an inch so I could look at the kernels.

“You know, doing that dries it out,” the woman told me.

I had headphones in so I pretended I couldn’t hear her, bagged the ear and did the same thing with another ear.

She started speaking again, only more loudly. “You can get the same result by doing this –” she started working her hands around the ear in a gesture that I’m pretty sure could start a fist fight in New York. Or end your career as a sign language interpreter.

I’m generally polite, and would normally accept someone’s tip with a bashful smile or light apology.  But I grew up in rural Michigan, helping my dad with his sizable garden, making my first $20 selling vegetables (including corn) door-to-door from a Radio Flyer wagon, which I pulled while wearing overalls with a patch that said, “I’m proud to be a farmer.”

So I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I suggest it unlikely that her corn-handling qualifications match or exceed mine.

Which — along with her rich city person’s Williams Sonoma farmer’s market basket  —  is why her advice immediately rubbed me the wrong way.

So you know what I said?

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