There’s not much that moviegoers can agree on. That’s half the fun (and agony) of going to the movies, and hanging out on sites like Film. Discussion would dry up if our brains were in lockstep.
She can be as crisp about business as she can be about sex
But there is one thing about film that we can all build a beautiful consensus from: Modern movie posters are awful. Few are worth the paper they’re printed on, and fewer still are worth hanging on your wall. Only a handful of directors manage to wring good marketing images out of studios, and even their best efforts don’t create the kind of frenzy leading site and collector lust that a Mondo poster can.
She can live in a man’s world, and by a man’s rules, but she is still a woman
Now, that’s wandering off topic a little — but only a little — because we’re supposed to be talking about the poster for No Strings Attached. But the first thing you really notice about it is what an awful, plastic, and impersonal poster it really is. This is not something to echo through the ages. It’s disposable and empty. It’s what we all loathe about cinema.
To be fair, No Strings Attached doesn’t have anything to live up to. I was about to launch into a tirade about how awesome old romance posters were, but I googled some of my favorite movies and . well, they’re not that good. The poster for It Happened One Night is pretty terrifying. Doris Day’s posters are universally awful. The only truly good ones that spring to Google Image are The Apartment, Gone with the Wind, and The Seven Year Itch. I suppose this makes sense. Jedi, guns, squints, blood, cigarette smoke, well-endowed dames, fedoras, and big jawlines make good posters, and these aren’t staples of romances or romantic comedies. Kisses, smiles, flowers, cute pets, and hearts are. Yawn.
So, that’s one point in your favor, No Strings Attached. But it’s the only pass you’re going to get. Particularly since you photoshopped an already slim Natalie Portman into the same width as Ashton Kutcher’s leg.
Why else is it so bad? Well, let’s look at the scenario it’s positing. These are friends with benefits. We get that because of the title, the tagline, and the smug smiles. If they were attached, they would be touching, but they are casual and carefree. The woman (normally the clingy one) is walking away, showing her lack of commitment. “Oh please! It was good, but I don’t need commitment! I’m a modern woman!” And how modern is she? Why, look at her clothing. She’s wearing a mannish shirt! At first glance, I thought she was wearing his shirt, and I marveled at how magically tiny it had become after a night on the floor. Ah ha! You got me, No Strings Attached, you toyed with my deeply held notions of femininity! With her choice of shirt (as well as the pants you can dimly glimpse in the corner), you are saying, “Hey, this woman is of the 21st century. She works in a professional setting. ” Indeed! Oh, but look at what lies at the foot of the bed. A high heel. You could slap this picture on the next Susan Faludi book. It’s that real.
All right, No Strings Attached, I’ll give you a half point for that bit of context. That’s kind of clever. It doesn’t make up for the plastic sheen of Portman and Kutcher though, or her aforementioned toothpick body.