Friends With Benefits appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a good but not great image.
Sharpness was the main minor weakness. Much of the film showed nice clarity and accuracy, but some softness popped up at times. Still, the majority of the flick looked fine. I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws also failed to create concerns, as the movie was free from defects.
In terms of colors, the film went with a generally natural palette that added a mild golden tint. Overall, the hues looked quite good, as the movie boasted lively, full tones. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed decent; a few shots could be a bit dim, but most offered appropriate delineation. The transfer never dazzled, but it was more than acceptable.
I thought that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Benefits seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.
Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, though, especially in street scenes; those opened up a bit. However, most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.
Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.
Among the disc’s extras, we find Bonus Benefits, a pop-up trivia track. It delivers text about background elements, cast and filmmakers, aspects of the shoot, and connected details. The tidbits show up frequently enough to keep us with the track, though they could be a little sparser than I’d like. Still, they present some fun facts and ensure that “Bonus Benefits” is worth a look; it’s unobtrusive enough to activate as you watch the movie.
Next comes an audio commentary from writer/director Will Gluck and actors Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, cast and performances, characters and story, editing and deleted scenes, and a few other areas.
Don’t expect a wealth of hard filmmaking data from this track, as little of that material shows up here. Instead, we get a loose, anecdotal piece that focuses on fun chat more than movie nuts and bolts. We learn enough along the way to make the piece acceptably informative, and the light vibe helps allow it to become likable and enjoyable. Nothing fascinating occurs, but it’s a likable, engaging piece.
10 Deleted Scenes run a total of eight minutes, 49 seconds. These tend to offer little bits chopped out of existing scenes; when unique pieces appear, they don’t do much to advance the plot. Some fun material does show up, however, such as a glimpse of Ferris Bueller: The Musical. While you shouldn’t expect anything fascinating, we find some amusing shots.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Gluck. He throws in some notes about the sequences and usually lets us know why he excised them. He doesn’t deliver great insight, but he gives us the basics.
With the Outtakes, we get a six-minute, 40-second reel. This delivers a pretty standard collection of silliness and mistakes from the set. A few moments emerge, but it’s usually forgettable. (However, you may want to watch “Outtakes” before you listen to the commentary; otherwise that track’s reference to “stock soup” won’t make sense.)
Two featurettes follow. On the Set goes for five minutes, 39 seconds and offers notes from Gluck, Timberlake, and Kunis. We go to various locations and learn a bit about the shoot. While nothing memorable shows up here, “Set” becomes a reasonably breezy and enjoyable little piece.
Finally, In a Flash: Choreographing a Mob runs five minutes, 48 seconds and features Gluck, Kunis, Timberlake and choreographer Ashley Wallen. As implied by the title, this one looks at the design and execution of the movie’s flash mob sequences. It follows in the footsteps of “On the Set” as it gives us another decent clip with a mix of minor insights.
The disc opens with ads for Midnight in Paris, Colombiana, A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy and Straw Dogs. These also show up under Previews along with promos for Attack the Block and 30 Minutes or Less. No trailer for Benefits pops up here.
Friends With Benefits works fine when it’s breezy and sardonic but it goes on way too long and loses spirit as it progresses. The stars show a good connection and there’s reasonable entertainment, but better editing and pacing would’ve really improved it. The Blu-ray provides generally positive picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. The movie has its moments but doesn’t really zing.