Our critic David Edelstein has been to a pair of summer movies ... and it seems he liked, even loved what he saw:
In a sea of 3-D superhero, giant robot, talking car, and alien invasion movies, films about impossibly attractive people getting wasted and jumping into bed with one another seem so gosh-darn grown-up.
I think those robots softened my brain, because I enjoyed parts of the uneven sex comedy "Friends with Benefits," starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as people who sleep together, but just as pals - no, they won't fall in love, they swear on the Bible ...
If they sleep together without emotional complications, there's no movie, so there must be complications, which means traditional - if you will, Biblical - morality sort of triumphs, the way it did in a worse recent movie with the same premise, "No Strings Attached," starring Kunis' "Black Swan" co-star, Natalie Portman.
Which raises the question: What is it about those "Black Swan" girls and sex?
"Friends with Benefits" is edited too quickly, as if the director watched screwball comedies and got the wrong message: We want the actors' natural rhythms to come through, and only Patricia Clarkson as Kunis's lewd, zany mom has rhythms that fast.
Still, there are those shapely, entwined naked limbs, and Kunis is not just sexy but unbelievably cute.
Wait, that's a pick-up line from "Crazy, Stupid, Love," a much funnier movie, full of actors you'll want to see - real actors, like Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone, their edges not blunted by years of making dumb buddy and chick flicks.
The alarmingly sleek Gosling plays a pick-up virtuoso who feels for newly-dumped nebbish Steve Carrell and teaches him to dress, and chat up the ladies.
... though sweetie-pie Carrell still moons over Moore (his first and only love) who slept with her smarmy colleague, Kevin Bacon, and is now a wreck of wayward emotions.
It's the sort of quasi-farcical picture in which Carrell's 13-year-old son longs for his 17-year-old babysitter, who longs for Carrell, who spies on Moore ...
But its makers are too sane and commercially smart to make the craziness really, consequentially crazy and the stupidity ruinous: Love is ultimately sane, surprise surprise!
The script, by Dan Fogelman, is unusually and gratifyingly bisexual - by which I don't mean there's gay sex, only scenes from both male and female points of view.
One is a gem: Stone pressing Gosling to demonstrate his time-tested seduction routine - while simultaneously swooning for it.
She's amazingly vivid and he's too cool for school ... and as you can tell from how I'm babbling, beautiful actors acting beautifully can make you crazy-stupid.