“No Strings Attached”: Ashton and Natalie do the “hookup generation”

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So in “No Strings Attached” we’ve got a former TV goofball and a former “Star Wars” decoration pretending to get it on like crazy, under the guidance of quasi-legendary comedy veteran Ivan Reitman. And “pretending” is definitely the right word. There’s an easygoing, lounging-around-in-sweat pants quality about “No Strings Attached” that makes me not hate it, and future Oscar nominee Natalie Portman and never-in-a-million-years Oscar nominee Ashton Kutcher are good sports about trying to deliver a contempo twist to the tired rom-com formula. We get to hear Portman shouting “Hey! Look at my dick!” and “This hole is my bitch!” (I’m not explaining why) and watch Kutcher stare mournfully into the middle distance, in total wounded-girl mode, while bad emo pop plays on the soundtrack.

But when people have sex in a movie — that wasn’t, you know, made in Hungary and meant to convince you that life is meaningless — isn’t it a good idea to make it seem kind of hot? Because on that score, “No Strings Attached” is a near-total failure. Sure, the premise is supposed to be that Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher) are longtime acquaintances who embark on a “sex friend” relationship that will be devoid of pet names, snuggling, emergency contact info or even breakfast. But their coupling lacks any physical or emotional spark — it’s Emma who tells a fellow resident at her L.A.