The unlikely star pairing of Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in 'No Strings Attached' (which opens today), is just the first of this year's several high-profile onscreen hookups that, whether they sizzle or fizzle, will make for some excellent photo ops.
Before the year is out, we'll see if Jennifer Aniston is funnier opposite Adam Sandler or Paul Rudd and whether Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake should have just stayed friends in'Friends With Benefits.' Not to mention the first look at real-life lovers Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen in Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris.'
Which celebrity pairings are you most looking forward to in 2011?
1. Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in 'No Strings Attached' (Jan. 21)
She's incredibly short; he's ridiculously tall. She's about to get her second Oscar nomination; he's more known for his Twittering than his acting these days. Since she's usually on a different playing field than he is, why can't a serious actress have a little fun now and then? Critics have given the movie a rotten 48 rating at Rotten Tomatoes (hey, that's a career high for Kutcher!), but like the pairing. "Portman and Kutcher really are sexy together," says the Boston Globe. Let's just hope he doesn't prove her 'Norbit'-like undoing on Oscar night.
2. Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in 'Just Go With It'(Feb. 11)
Surely Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston have starred together as pretend man and wife before? No, it only seems that way because she's supported nearly every other comedian in town. In their first film together, she plays his assistant, who agrees to pretend to be his wife so that he can hook a hottie. It's all very complicated: He lies to women, saying that he's married to avoid commitment, but now his girlfriend wants to meet his imaginary wife. Sounds a lot like 'Cactus Flower' to us, where the odd pairing of Walter Matthau and Ingrid Bergman was part of the comedy. Will a Sandiston romcom be a match made in heaven or a forgettable flop?
3. Russell Brand and Greta Gerwig in 'Arthur'(Apr. 8)
Either you're horrified that bad boy comedian Russell Brand is taking over Dudley Moore's iconic role, or you're toasting the powers that be for such a spot-on casting. The drunken millionaire is a role that seems tailor-made for the 'Get Him to the Greek' star. He's paired here with the up-and-coming Gerwig (who charmed as the object of Ben Stiller's affection in 'Greenberg') in the kooky Liza Minnelli shoplifter role. Brand being Brand, we also expect him to put some moves on Helen Mirren, who takes over the role of exasperated Arthur-sitter originally played by John Gielgud.
4. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in 'One Day'(Jul. 8)
An intriguing pairing and an interesting concept: Two college grads spend the night together; we then check in with them that same day over the next several years to see if they're together or apart. If Sturgess and Hathaway have half the amount of chemistry he had in 'Across the Universe' with Evan Rachel Wood, all should be well. The film, incidentally, is from Lone Scherfig, director of 'An Education,' the Oscar-nominated movie that also earned a nod for Carey Mulligan.
5. Kevin James and Rosario Dawson in 'The Zookeeper'(Jul. 8)
How could a lovable schlub like James ever end up with a hottie like Dawson? Well, he did okay with Amber Valletta in 'Hitch.' (Or so we assume. That's one we missed.) But yes, Dawson here is (very understandably) the girl of zookeeper James's dreams. Since the movies have their own love affair with beauty-and-the-geek-pairings, we expect she'll come around to his charms by the time the credits roll. And hey, there's talking animals!
6. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake in 'Friends With Benefits' (Jul. 15)
Kunis and Timberlake are each finally getting some filmic respect based on their acclaimed supporting turns in, respectively, Oscar-bait films 'Black Swan' and 'The Social Network.' So why not follow that up with a romantic comedy? Regardless, if this plays out like a rerun of 'No Strings Attached' (or dozens of other similarly plotted flicks), we can't wait to see two of the hottest stars flirting and sparring with each other. (And of course, making out.) Have the real-life romance rumors started already?
7. Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen in 'Midnight in Paris' (Sept. 9)
Speaking of real-life romance, many celeb spotters were astonished to hear that McAdams had moved on from her 'Notebook' costar Ryan Gosling to the much older Sheen. Personally, we weren't that surprised. We found him very charming in 'Frost/Nixon' and 'The Queen' and rather sexy in those 'Underworld' films. And he did used to be with Kate Beckinsale. Given the usual secrecy surrounding Woody Allen's latest, it's not clear if McAdams and Sheen play a couple in the film, but even if they don't, their hook-up is probably the best publicity he could hope for.
8. Anna Faris and Chris Evans in 'What's Your Number'(Sept. 30)
Chris Evans makes an extremely hot ex-boyfriend, like in the little-seen 'London,' with then-girlfriend Jessica Biel, and as one of Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Seven Evil Exes in 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.' Here, he plays one of Anna Faris's 19 former beaus; since she's set her lifetime limit at 20, she decides to revisit all the guys she's ever known to see who's "The One." Whether or not she ends up with Evans at the fadeout, we're looking forward to her brand of funny with his brand of hot and a little bit of vice versa.
9. Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in 'Wanderlust'(Oct. 7)
Aniston and Rudd have starred together before, but she was pregnant with another man's baby and he was gay, so that didn't exactly work out. In 'Wanderlust,' they finally play a couple, specifically, New Yorkers whose financial straits prompt them to move into a hippie commune. (Cue orgies! Toplessness! And pot!) We can't think of a time when Rudd didn't make us laugh and this Judd Apatow-produced pic could be just the film that'll finally return Aniston to her 'Friends-era stride. Even if it's not the be-all and end-all of romantic comedies, this is one pairing we're excited about. (Then again, we were kind of excited for 'The Switch.')
10. Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardyand Chris Pine in 'This Means War'(Nov. 28)
Torn between 'Inception' hunk Tom Hardy and out-of-this-world hot Chris Pine? What's a girl to do? While Witherspoon isn't exactly the type we'd picture snaring two globe-trotting spies, we're more than willing to pull up a chair and watch as they battle it out for her affections. And we're going to make a bold prediction: She'll end up with Pine. Why? Because A.) he's the bigger star and B.) he's American and Americans usually get the girl in American movies. But don't rule out Hardy: These pics of him and Witherspoon goofing around on set seem to prove they've got great chemistry.
2011 Movies Preview: 75 Films We Can't Wait to See