American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"No Strings Attached" poses the question: Is it possible to regularly have sex with someone and not run a risk of falling in love? The answer is yes. Now that we have that settled, consider the case of Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher), who first met when they were 6 and now meet when they're maybe 26. Busy people. He's a low-rent TV producer and she's a medical student. She doesn't have time for romance, and he's dating the sexy Vanessa (played by the well-named Ophelia Lovibond).
Still, one must do something about sex, lest the pipes run rusty, as my friend Henry Togna Sr., the London hotelier, instructed me when he was in well into his 70s. Adam and Emma see each other at a party, remember each other after all those years, yet do not realize they're having a Meet Cute. Then Adam discovers Vanessa has dumped him and moved in with his father (Kevin Kline). In response, he begins to drink, which is what the Jack Lemmon character always did in these situations, and what with one thing and another, he wakes up naked in Emma's apartment while she and three roommates reassure him they're all interns and deja vu when it comes to viewing the male netherlands on display.
Is there something a little, I dunno, dated about a comedy where a guy clutches a towel to his privates while girls giggle at him? And when he asks if he slept with anyone last night, why does that remind me of Doris Day in “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out" (1968)? Here is a titillating sex romp in 2011, when the very words titillating and romp have outlasted their shelf lives. The movie is rated R, but it's the most watery R I've seen. It's more of a PG-13 playing dress-up.
Anyway, finding out he hasn't slept with Emma, Adam engages in sitcom badinage that quickly leads to the old rumpy-pumpy, and they find the pipes running marvelously clear. What a discovery! They can have sex and remain just friends! This is a great convenience. They proceed to frolic like two bunnies in clover, using their cell phones and texting skills to arrange emergency trysts in roughly anything except a bed.