If you have a hankering for a rom-com with Natalie Portman, then boot up Netflix right away as No Strings Attached returned on the streaming platform on July first.
Natalie Portman played Emma in the 2011 movie. She meets this guy named Adam, played by Ashton Kutcher. They become friends with benefits, only adhering to the physical part of the relationship to keep things light and sexy. Like any romantic comedy, the two start to fall for each other, and the story follows them as they develop this relationship into something more serious.
Outside of having two big stars like Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman, the film had some power behind the scenes. It was directed by Ivan Reitman. The filmmaker has shown off quite the range within comedy by directing both of the original Ghostbusters movies and the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito comedy Twins. Accompanying him were writers Michael Samonek, who wrote the rom-com Table for Three, and Elizabeth Meriwether, who would go off to create the hit Fox series New Girl.
The film had quite the cast. Starring alongside Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman was Cary Elwes (Saw), Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda), Lake Bell (BoJack Horseman), Ludacris (Crash), and Olivia Thirlby (Juno).
The reception of No Strings Attached was quite poor. Looking at Rotten Tomatoes, the scores for both the audience and critics are both green. The critic score is 49 percent out of 173 submissions, and the audience is barely above it with 51 percent out of over 50,000 submitted reviews. The critical census states that Natalie Portman and Ivan Reitman give it a boost in the right direction, but the ultimate issue is how it lacks “courage or conviction” regarding its premise.
Box office-wise, the Natalie Portman leading movie was able to make a profit. Its budget was $25 million, and it grossed a total of $149 million. Between the domestic and international box offices, it was close between the two. Domestic brought in $70 million, with an opening of over $19 million, while the international beat it out with $78 million. Outside of the U.S., the countries that hit the best were France with $8 million, Australia coming in with almost the same amount with $7.9 million, Russia raking in $6 million, and Mexico barely missing the $5 million mark with $4.9 million.
One of the things hurting No Strings Attached was that another romantic comedy centering on a friends with benefits romance story came out that same year. The Natalie Portman movie released in January 2011 to poor reception. Later that year, Mila Kunis released Friends With Benefits with Justin Timberlake. The Mila Kunis movie is the one that gets remembered.
2011 was a busy year for Natalie Portman. The Israeli-American actress was also in Your Highness with Pineapple Express actors James Franco and Danny McBride. This was also the time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was building to its mighty status with Thor. Portman would go on to do the sequel, 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. She will miss out on the next installments of the franchise until signing on to star in 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder to go from everyday citizen Jane Foster to become the hammer-wielding Mighty Thor.
A year before doing the poorly received No Strings Attached, Natalie Portman struck big with Black Swan. It was her first Oscar win, also making it the second time she was in the running for the Academy Awards as she was nominated for 2004’s Closer. The film had quite a few nominations. Outside of the stars win, it was up for Best Achievement in Directing with Darren Aronofsky, Best Achievement in Cinematography with Matthew Libatique, Best Achievement in Film Editing with Andrew Weisblum, and then the dancing-focused film was up for the big prize, Best Picture.
While he has not gotten the accolades Natalie Portman has, Ashton Kutcher has had a strong career, too, since his time on set for No Strings Attached. While making his mark with That ’70s Show, he went on to continue work on hit sitcoms with Two and a Half Men. He turned to a more serious role with The Ranch, co-starring with A Star Is Born’s, Sam Elliott.
Right now, Natalie Portman is keeping herself busy. The star is going to lead in HBO’s adaption of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, The Days of Abandonment with Rafe Spall (The Big Short) and Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds), co-starring with Julianne Moore (30 Rock) in May December, and she will star in the animated movie Foxy Trotter.