Natalie Portman is widely seen as an Oscar front-runner for her grueling, critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-winning performance in Black Swan. But some are viewing her latest film, the flimsy romantic comedy No Strings Attached — co-starring Ashton Kutcher and out this weekend — as an ill-advised departure from her typically higher-brow work. (Watch the No Strings Attached trailer.) Will the timing of her new movie, smack in the middle of awards season, compromise her status as a "serious" actress or even cost her an Oscar?
Yes, this movie could ruin her future prospects: Natalie Portman had a career breakthrough with Black Swan and is on-track for an Oscar nomination, says Rex Reed in The New York Observer. And now, No Strings Attached "could destroy everything." This "unforgivable bore" suffers from a "moronic screenplay" and she should have done everything possible to stop its release, "short of breaking into the editing lab and destroying the negative."
"Love and other drags"
No, this shows Portman can be charming in any genre: Based on the variety of her last few films, we're just starting to see Portman's range, says Drew McWeeny at HitFix. "She lets her Black Swan fly here, and her sense of giddy joy... carries over into the tone of the film itself." Her foul-mouthed charm makes Kutcher "more engaged and engaging" than usual.
"Review: Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher anchor the charming No Strings Attached"
She's absolutely hilarious: Portman has some truly great funny moments, says Cinenerd at BlogCritics, like driving down the freeway stuffing donut holes into her mouth while singing along with Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love." And while everyone's worried about her "following up a powerhouse Oscar-bait performance with [a] disastrous film," at least Portman has "chosen more wisely than others (Valentine's Day, The Back-up Plan) in her walk of shame through the rom-com genre."
"Movie Review: No Strings Attached (2011)"
Besides, even serious actresses need to have fun: "After starving herself, ripping off her cuticles and going mad in Black Swan, it's nice to see Portman having some fun here," says Jen Chaney in The Washington Post. Sure, the film is full of cliches, but, as romantic-comedies go, it's still a "better-than-average." Portman projects an intelligence that makes the film's "'Three's Company'-style shenanigans" tolerable.
"No Strings Attached"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- An open letter to #brands about Gamergate
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The most sensible GOP alternative to ObamaCare comes from a Senate candidate who is almost sure to lose
- 'Having it all' has officially jumped the shark
- Did Republicans overshoot on the Ebola panic?
- 10 things you need to know today: October 23, 2014
Subscribe to the Week