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I gave No Strings Attached a B. On some level, the very format of me professionally grading movies is inherently stupid–as if I’m the teacher and these movies are my little students trying their hardest to pass my indisputable standards–but I like grades as a reader and a critic. As a reader, they help me place a review in context; as the critic, they help me define my overall feelings toward a movie.

To get its B, No Strings Attached probably benefited from low expectations. An.. Ashton Kutcher rom-com. Oh. All right, I will go see that and tell other people what to think of it. I’m sure this will be a fine use of everyone’s time.

But then it turned out to be fairly funny. And while the fuckbuddy-turned-romance relatioship between Kutcher and Natalie Portman was nothing that special or groundbreaking, there were a lot of sideplots and supporting characters that gave that central relationship leeway to not be terribly interesting. Like Kutcher’s dad, former sitcom star Kevin Kline. And their friends’ burgeoning little relationship. And Kutcher’s TV job. That stuff, all good.

So when I think, just a day after writing the review, that maybe No Strings Attached was more of a B-, or even a C+ (the grade of deeply flawed but often entertaining stuff), and maybe I was overrating it because I expected it to be a pan of broiled bullshit, eventually I can only shrug. I had a good time. A much better one than I anticipated. A time that I would peg as a B: I could have been watching something better, but I enjoyed myself while I was there.

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