By Cory Doctorow at 9:18 am Thu, Jun 30, 2011
Ben sends us this: "Funny, side-by-side comparison of the movies 'Friends with Benefits' and 'No Strings Attached.' Same formula, same characters, and even the same camera angles."
Trailer Mashup - 'Friends With Benefits' vs. 'No Strings Attached" - Blind Film Critic
Plus let’s not forget two other strange coincidences. One is that one of the stars in each movie was in that 70s show. Also, Justin timberlakes band n sync had an album called no strings attached.
It took an over-produced YouTube video to show you that “Friends With Benefits” and “No Strings Attached” are the same film? Really?
Reminds me of these movies that had a lot in common:
Armageddon and Deep Impact (1998)
The Matrix and Dark City (1998)
Volcano and Dante’s Peak (1997)
i’m dying to know how you would compare matrix to dark city. please tell me.
The twist in No Strings Attached is he’s already dead.
And they’re both Tyler Durden.
Some enterprising cinema buff needs to come up with the “phylogenetic tree of film plots”. Upon which “Friends With Benefits” and “No Strings Attached” would be connected by the shortest possible edge.
I humbly off into that future database another odder comparison that would require only an edge only about 1.6 times as long: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” …many scenes (albeit one animated) sync-up very nicely.
Likewise, Braveheart and The Patriot, in which the English fuck with Mel Gibson’s family and then he kicks their ass.
You mean “Braveheart II: Braveheart Goes West”?
Internet Discovers Genre: Film at 11
But seriously, this process developed so quickly in film (unsurprisingly, since it was already present for a long time in the other dramatic and plastic arts) that Luis BuÃ±uel and a friend created the tree you’re proposing back in the 1920’s.
The sameness of films is one of the reasons I was so taken aback by the critique that the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Hironobu Sakaguchi, 2001) “had no plot”. O rly? And how many SF movies have you seen that are more adroitly plotted?
Genres exist, in this case, we’re seeing two sets of people create works that are both horizontally and vertically integrated into a number of genres, both at the level of signifier and signified. To some degree, they should be praised for their fidelity even as we castigate them for their unoriginality.
Same with Disney movies:
(attention, embedded video)
Check out the segment starting at about 1:04.
Why did I watch that? I knew this already! I’ve seem the commercials! I’ve wasted another 1 minute 37 seconds of my life! But at least I won’t waste an hour and a half watching either movie. I’m not interested in the premise of, as the clip said, destructive behavior.
Lessons I have learned, thanks to Hollywood: if you star in anything approximating “edgy” cinema, your penance is to serve time in a throwaway film; that’s the trade-off. If you’re a woman, your time is served in a romcom. And if you’re Natalie Portman & Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”), you pay your dues in two variations on the same theme (“No Strings Attached” & “Friends With Benefits”). Blech.
Not a single Black Swan reference?
Oh wait, I demand a new version with at least one Black Swan clip and one That 70s Show clip cut in!
I assumed the first movie was headed to DVD, and then was thrown off by the ‘coming soon’ tone of the ad. Up until seeing this post I only thought there was a single movie, which I hadn’t seen anyhow.
Can someone further mash the FWB and NSA video with additional footage from “Booty Call”?
At one point, Friends With Benefits was the working title for No Strings Attached.
(Of course, at another point, its working title was Fuckbuddies, which I wish they’d kept. I think it’s a more accurate description of the actual film.)
There is an indie film called Friends (with benefits) whose original title was F*UCK BUDDIES.
Friends (with benefits) 2009
Could we at the very least give credit where credit is due? Want to talk about “similarities?” How bout we cut in the movie that did it first? This is why Hollywood has no original ideas, they seem to be busy “borrowing” ideas from the independent world.
>This is why Hollywood has no original ideas, they seem to be busy “borrowing” ideas from the independent world.
Yes, but isn’t that the way all art proceeds? Didn’t your F*uck Buddies movie steal the idea from the Seinfeld episode? Didn’t Seinfeld steal the idea from _________?
See All Art Is Theft poster in Jay Maisel thread.
If copyright reform happens, will we celebrate originality less?
It is one thing for the imagination of a writer to be sparked by a previously existing idea, picture, photo,tv episode, whatever. The “friends with benefits” concept itself is not what I’m referring to.
I saw the indie film Friends (with Benefits )at a film festival where is went on to win Best Narrative Feature. I then subsequently began reading about similar films in production, followed by trailers, followed by films that seemed so stikingly familiar to a film I’ve already seen, one would begin to wonder if the filmmaker got a great payday by selling his script to Hollywood. He in fact did not secretly (nor not so secretly) sell it to anyone. I searched around the internet (not hard to do) and found a lot of info on that topic.
Anyway, I don’t wish to debate the ethics of Hollywood, just wanted to point out a great little film that unfortunately seems to have more than sparked these two flicks. And I do believe that in this case it seems a little more than just borrowing a concept.
When I first saw the Friends With Benefits commercial I thought “They’re remaking No Strings Attached??! Already? Come on Hollywood! The well can’t be *that* dry.”
“or Adam Sandler in it”
Punch Drunk Love is not cut from the same cloth.
It turns out ‘Natalie Portman’ was the name of Ashton Kutcher’s sled.
Check out “Apocalypse Oz”. It’s a pretty clever, entertaining movie that shows the Wizard of Oz and Apocalypse Now are the same movie essentially (with superficial differences in genre – musical/ war movie). Its not a trailer mash-up though, hese guys shot a new movie having hybridized the screenplays though – very cool.
it can be seen here:
As a scientifically-minded woman and a late-blooming film buff who nevertheless enjoys one of these things occasionally (about once a year) I feel qualified to judge. This stuff is cotton candy — sweet but ephemeral.
Interestingly, the ostensible subject of these films is personally relevant — I’ve been in an open relationship for over twenty years now with a guy who was my fuck-buddy when we were both 18. Not that either of us has strayed much. Probably less than most supposedly-faithful cheaters. Yes, we’re boring.
Sometimes it really does work out when you least expect it.
As for movies, I only watch gudda-gudda gunfights and explosions about once a year too, as it bores me even more.
Movies that are interesting have serious, genuine drama, or interesting cinematography, or fantastic ideas.
Hollywood will remake generic chick flicks and action flicks every month for the rest of time, because people pay to see them. It’s really that simple.
For a fun game, do what we do: when you watch the damn things, see how many lines and scenes you can predict word-for-word and shot-for-shot. After a bit, you’ll be batting at least .500!
As long as I’m tubthumping up here on my soapbox, it has long seemed to me that one of the great disservices we do as both audiences and critics of film is neglecting production design. Especially in films from various realist genres, our expectation for production design is that it be virtually invisible, which, when you consider it, is really quite hard work. Directors and editors traditionally share the vast majority of the credit for mise en scene, but are they the ones making the thousands of tiny decisions about sets, properties, wardrobe, make-up, casting (of extras and smaller roles) and the like? Rarely. Even in animated film, it is only the perfectionists like Miyazaki who deserve that much credit.
How the hell do you make two films look virtually identical, given different sets, crew, actors, etc. etc.? That’s virtuosity in and of itself. In The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin deprecates “aesthetisizing politics” without really coming to grips with what a hugely complex and fraught process that actually becomes.
The majority of movies arenâ€™t made for the purpose of originality; they are made for the purpose of money. Pointing out the lack of originality at the box isnâ€™t going to make anyone in Hollywood wince. They are doing this on purpose because it makes them so much money.
Which begs the question: is one intention better than the other? Are originality and commercial viability always mutually exclusive? And, if the copyright-reformers are right, isn’t originality overemphasized at the cost of ignoring the collective nature of creativity?
I’m pretty sure they’re not the same movie; one has Natalie Portman, the other doesn’t.
I had the curious fortune of watching “The Town” & then “The American” back to back on an international flight, which is the only way I would have discovered that they are in fact the same movie (Spoilers ahead):
Amoral, laconic mercenary whose only virtues are a strong jaw on a pretty face:
A. Meets a beguiling woman who evokes a previously unknown sentimentalism;
B. Begins to have misgivings about his latest job;
C. Finds himself in escalating violent conflict with a peer;
D. Seeks answers from imperfect father figures;
E. Is actively betrayed by one father figure, who tries to have the mercenary killed;
F. Is passively betrayed by another father figure, who admits to being just as morally corrupt as the mercenary is amoral;
G. Is indirectly betrayed by a third* father figure, who tries to convince the mercenary to give himself up to the law;
H. Questions whether he can trust the beguiling woman after all of these betrayals;
I. Is further betrayed by a woman from his past who knows his true identity;
J. Discovers that he does trust the beguiling woman even as he causes the death of his peer;
K. Embraces his own end to preserve the beguiling woman’s escape.
*In the American, Father Benedetto fulfills F & G.
Which is all to say, I don’t subscribe the “Only n Archetypes” school of story, but I do think there’s a Jungian invisible hand that weighs increasingly heavy on the shoulder as one footstep leads to the next through the garden of narrative possibilities, which is why there’s an infinite number of pathways, and yet a finite number of actual paths. Or somesuch.
I cringed and grimaced when I began to see the steady trickle of summer chick flick adverts on cable TV early this month. I turned to my wife and saw her eyes light up with glee (pun intended) – personally (and as a healthy guy) I think the word “formulaic” is too good for what these “womanly-oriented” actually are. Frankly, anything with Kate Hudson, Sandra Bullock or Adam Sandler in it just ain’t my cup of tea. But chicks dig ‘em and we can’t deny them their fuzzy wuzzies or Timberlakes…
Nah… just the sort of women that like you I guess. Must be something about their taste!
Personally, I’d rather have an enema than watch either of those films. I couldn’t even make it through the mash up.
I hadn’t heard of them, because I don’t watch television and could care less what pathetic chum Hollywood is cranking out for the hungry masses.
Thank god you’re not my husband, I can not believe you just said that. NOT ALL FEMALES LIKE FUCKING CHICK FLICKS, jesus christ. I don’t have a female friend that does like that shit.
Nice sexism you got there. ‘Chicks’? OK, then.
Hollywood puts out pedantic crap anyway, but its offerings aimed towards women are even more depressing. The only movies I’ve seen in the theater lately are Hanna (loved it) and X-Men: First Class (fun, but racist and sexist- very distracting from any plot). American cinema is utter garbage, and so I ignore most of it.
I wonder if either of these twin turds pass the Bechdel Test? I highly doubt it.
I like to be elitist about movies too, but there are actually good films constantly coming out of the US and even Hollywood.
See “Midnight in Paris” if you don’t believe me. It should still be in a theater near you. You might even call it a romantic comedy, but it’s not the formulaic type (although Woody Allen kind of follows his own formulas ;)
Also, see any of the films that won a lot of awards last year (or any year). They win the awards, while films like these (and the summer action/superhero movies) don’t, because they’re actually good… but you hear more about the crap ones because they spend a lot more on advertising.
I humbly request you keep your blanket generalizations to yourself. ‘Chic flics’ make me want to vomit. The summer movie I’m looking forward to is Cowboys & Aliens.
So which boneheaded mantra is it going to be: “All art is theft,” or “Copying isn’t theft”? At least settle on one, because they can’t logically coexist.
The movies of course deal with the same subject, but it seems to me that the accusation here seems to be plagiarism, and I’m just not seeing it. “Look, two romantic comedies and they both have sex scenes!”.
That is just not the accusation here, and steering the conversation to such an absurd place and then refuting it (straw man) is not scoring a point. Weak.
Check out IMDB:
No Strings Attached (2011)
aka “Friends with Benefits” – USA (working title)
Friends (with benefits) 2009
Not nearly enough said.
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