Adult Humor of ‘Friends with Benefits’ Intrigues Justin Timberlake

On a roll after appearing in back-to-back hits “The Social Network” and “Bad Teacher,” Justin Timberlake now stars in Columbia Pictures' casual-sex romantic comedy “Friends with Benefits” opposite Mila Kunis.

Director Will Gluck recalls catching Timberlake on “Saturday Night Live” and being wowed. “I was impressed, and then he did another ‘SNL’ and he was even funnier. And the reason he’s so funny is because he’s a great actor. `Friends with Benefits’ is his first full-time comedic role. He can do anything. He’s so charismatic that you can’t keep your eyes off him.”

For his part, Timberlake not only loved the adult humor of `Benefits,’ but was intrigued by where his and Mila’s characters Dylan and Jamie are in their respective lives when the movie introduces them to us. Both are young and successful at work, but they’re also circumspect about love, and struggling with family issues. “Just the things that happen to you when you get to a certain age, like my age,” says Timberlake, “where you’re sort of questioning the ‘establishment’ of what you’ve grown up with – as far as relationships are concerned – what it all means.”

The actor goes on, “Our characters meet each other in that time where they’ve both recently split up from other relationships and we’re both in that headspace where we kind of want to just be single.”

In the film, when Dylan moves to New York after Jamie recruits him for an exciting position at GQ Magazine, the two become fast friends, comrades in cynicism, ready to laugh at the world’s craziness and each other’s foibles.

With Timberlake’s Dylan working hard to establish himself at a new job in a new city and no time to pursue life’s more frivolous aspects, and Kunis’ Jamie meeting too many “nice” guys who turn out to be not-so-nice, the two come to an agreement asserting mutual benefits without the emotional complications of dating. ‘Cause after all, everyone has physical needs, they convince themselves. What could possibly go wrong?

Timberlake explains, “It’s about two people kind of living parallel lives. They get together and come up with this crazy plan of having the physical act of a relationship without any of the emotion. That’s really where a lot of the hilarity ensues. It’s nice to have an “R” rating for this movie because in the intimate scenes, there’s some funny things that we were able to come up with. It’s a funny dynamic when you have characters who aren’t emotionally attached in that way – or at least the don’t think they are.”

Timberlake sees a stealth aspect to the movie’s fun and games. “I think the heart of this film sneaks up on you,” he concludes. “I think that that’s what will get audiences: before they know it, they’re completely invested in these characters because they’re so likeable.”

Opening across the Philippines on Sept. 28, “Friends with Benefits” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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