MovieChat Forums > Friends (with Benefits) (2009) Discussion > why isn't this getting a main stream rel...

why isn't this getting a main stream release?


okay....so why is it that two horrible movies with big main stream casts with basically the same story line are getting released within the next month or so...but this isn't?

this was a hell of a lot better. was this idea like stolen from someone and sent to hollywood? or did this guy sell it and agree with not having to have his name credited at all.....it just seems weird.

"no strings attached" with natalie portman with a very very similar story line and characters. even had the same original title "F*u*c*k* buddies" and no mention of the writer of this film having anything to do with it.

"friends with benefits" mila kunis. also a very similar story line and no mention of this writer.

was this just some sick coincidence or what?

if not, then as an independent artist i feel pretty small and hopeless right now.
what's the point, if hollywood steals everything and turns it into garbage? if we have to keep seeing natalie portman ashton kutcher justin timberlake and mila kunis then why even try to have other actors out there? we can just have all of hollywood recycle themselves over and over until they die or become paralyzed from too much plastic surgery. there used to be such a thing as "new talent." guess that died a long time ago along with celluloid film.

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It is frustrating. I wrote this as a spec script called *beep* Buddies" back in 1999. It was shopped around, but because of the more controversial sections of the film (pretty sure you know what I mean if you've seen it), eventually no one purchased it. (I was asked to take those out, but I declined.)

Now, the young lady who wrote No String Attached (also originally called *beep* Buddies", then called "Friends With Benefits") went to Yale shortly after my agents began shopping the script around. What does seem a little strange to me was that my wife employed a bunch of Yalies at the time, and we were friends with a lot of people in the New Haven scene...so I'm pretty sure word got around as to what I was working on (as I was pretty well-known in New Haven at the time due to my books and older horror films)...

That there are SO many similarities in the script is upsetting. (Funny, what's bothered me most is that the Justin version actually has an orange logo! Really?!?! There was no other color. And it's not like they didn't know about my film. Our URL is FWBmovie.com, theirs is FWB-movie.com. I mean...c'mon.)

So yes, it feels like I did all the work. As for it being a coincidence...there's no such thing as coincidences! (And I never secretly sold any rights to this story.)

As for your closing...I believe the gap between indie and hollywood is larger than ever. We just need to keep to our side and keep putting out worthwhile projects. Let's face it, an Ashton fan probably wouldn't enjoy a true indie film anyway. So, let them have their bad copies...we know where the originality lies. We can see the difference. Never give up hope (or your dream).

P.S. If you're okay with it, I'd like to repost your initial post and my response on my blog GuyWithTypewriter.com so more people can see it.

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I didn't even know there was a 2009 film made. I was just watching television and the No Strings trailer came on and I actually typed in Friends With Benefits when trying to find more information about the film. Pictures of Mila Kunis came up and I was very confused. As I was typing this I actually typed in Strings With Benefits. This is ridiculous. As an artist myself, I am very upset whenever I feel someone has stolen my idea. :/

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@almostsurreal- if you are so inclined, you can watch Friends (with benefits) on both fancast and babelgum and/or help spread the word about the indie version that came first :)

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RE:It is frustrating. I wrote this as a spec script called *beep* Buddies" back in 1999. It was shopped around, but because of the more controversial sections of the film (pretty sure you know what I mean if you've seen it), eventually no one purchased it. (I was asked to take those out, but I declined.)

Now, the young lady who wrote No String Attached (also originally called *beep* Buddies", then called "Friends With Benefits") went to Yale shortly after my agents began shopping the script around. What does seem a little strange to me was that my wife employed a bunch of Yalies at the time, and we were friends with a lot of people in the New Haven scene...so I'm pretty sure word got around as to what I was working on (as I was pretty well-known in New Haven at the time due to my books and older horror films)...

That there are SO many similarities in the script is upsetting. (Funny, what's bothered me most is that the Justin version actually has an orange logo! Really?!?! There was no other color. And it's not like they didn't know about my film. Our URL is FWBmovie.com, theirs is FWB-movie.com. I mean...c'mon.)

So yes, it feels like I did all the work. As for it being a coincidence...there's no such thing as coincidences! (And I never secretly sold any rights to this story.)

As for your closing...I believe the gap between indie and hollywood is larger than ever. We just need to keep to our side and keep putting out worthwhile projects. Let's face it, an Ashton fan probably wouldn't enjoy a true indie film anyway. So, let them have their bad copies...we know where the originality lies. We can see the difference. Never give up hope (or your dream).

P.S. If you're okay with it, I'd like to repost your initial post and my response on my blog GuyWithTypewriter.com so more people can see it.


no problem! please do so.


and I know this might not be the best place to post legal advice, but seriously I feel that you have a case here. If I were you, I'd consider getting a lawyer. I have heard of other stories being ripped off by hollywood, but this clearly has legit evidence to support your claim. Too many similaries and too many people being mysteriously in the same place at the same time. And the thing about your wife hiring those yalies....! if you could find a connection to those employees with the lady who 'wrote' this, your case would be solid like a rock. I know attorneys can be expensive, but if you proposed this as a legit case against a lucrative film company and one of their 'writers,' I bet a lawyer would see a possible large incentive in it for themself as well.

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Thanks! It's posted in www.GuyWithTypewriter.com

As for lawsuits and such...if they clearly stole direct lines of dialog, perhaps...but otherwise it's just too hard to prove. We'll just ride the gravy train of confusion, and let the big Hollywood machine get us publicity for free...

(I've posted my thoughts on NSA vs. FWB on the blog.)

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Yes, and if and when people decide to search for it on Netflix, they'll find it's already conveniently available on streaming! Kidding aside, your film was thoroughly enjoyable, with plenty of hilarious twists along the way, Mr. Bechard. I actually thought it was much better than NSA. And I'm not even going to bother with this copycat FWB...

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Thanks! :)

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Let me start by saying that I just saw your movie on Netflix, and found that I genuinely liked it. A lot.

That said, the core idea is not the newest concept in the world. The whole "can we have sex while staying unattached" idea is far from incredibly original. But that's how all movies are: you take a core plot and add your own twist to it, making it original in your own way. That's what I think you did, and what I think the writers of the other movies did (as did you, of course). The title "Friends With Benefits" is hardly shocking, too, because that's the common term for that kind of relationship. Friends with benefits, *beep* buddies, booty call, sex friends, etc. I don't consider myself the pinnacle of creativity, but those are the terms that pop into my head immediately.

If they stole direct lines, then I'd be 100% positive they stole your script/idea. However, as it stands with just the core concept being the same, I'd say it's doubtful that they stole your script or had prior knowledge of it. And I don't mean to be rude to you, really, but it seems a little disrespectful to the other writers to even insinuate some form of plagiarism.

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I appreciate the kind words, but regarding Hollywood ripping us off, perhaps we know a little more of the backstory than you do...(let's just leave it at that for now.)

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While as a filmmaker I can appreciate your situation, (and as a Replacements fan I love "Color Me Obsessed" by the way) this response rubbed me the wrong way. Just a few posts ago you said there was no way you could sue as just the core story of these films are the same, and yet you seem positive you were plagiarized? I think Diesel 7 has an excellent point. It's the easiest thing in the world to say "Oh, I was definitely ripped off but I'm not suing because... you wouldn't understand."

Your film is FAR superior to "No Strings" (I've seen both) and I admire your desire to not compromise the integrity of your script and instead produce it independently. However, you seem to be personally accusing the screenwriter, Liz Meriwether, of plagiarism and that kind of bugs me. First of all, that film seems to have originally stemmed from a pitch by a writer named Michael Samonek which was purchased by Ivan Reitman's Montecito Picture Company. Reitman then hired Meriwether (who had already graduated from Yale) to pen the script based on the strength of a TV pilot she had written. So there goes your Yale theory, which was pretty far-fetched to begin with. Her script was featured on the 2008 Blacklist of best unproduced screenplays, a full year before your film came out. I've met Liz, she used to write and produce some really funny, small plays in NYC. She's talented, smart, and has integrity. Even though, yes, "No Strings" wasn't the greatest.

Also, your film is one of FOUR projects with this fairly simple premise that has popped up recently. There is, of course, the JT and Mila film, and also an unaired TV series from the writers of "500 Days of Summer." Do you really think your indie (and again, I enjoyed it) is what caused this wave? I think it's far more likely that it's just a generational thing. Us kids are into *beep*-buddies right now, apparently. I'm not trying to start something, I just think the most mature thing to do would be to, like you said, ride this wave of popularity and use it for marketing purposes instead of insinuating any claims that you were ripped off. Coincidences like this happen all the time.

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Dear Mr. Lemondifficut:

I am not Mr. Bechard, nor do I wish to speak for him. However, I have worked closely with him including on "Color Me Obsessed".

Re-reading his original post in response to Estella2, I come away with his frustration of having two very similar films come out AFTER his film which began production in 2006 from a script he wrote in 1999. My take on it? He was not "personally accusing" anyone of anything just stating his ideas on the matter as HE sees them.

Hopefully the attention these two movies have generated allow more people to become acquainted with the indie version and Mr. Bechard's work in general. Thanks for your kind words for "Color Me Obsessed" and Friends (with benefits).

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I completely understand Mr. Bechard's frustration and sincerely hope this free publicity gets his film the recognition and success it rightly deserves. Also, I checked out his blog post on the matter after my last post and thought it was totally fair, gracious, and agreeable.

However, he did insinuate (perhaps "personally accuse" was too strong a phrase) that the "young lady who wrote "No Strings Attached"" may have copied his ideas. When Diesel 7 pointed out that this may be a little disrespectful, his response was not quite in line with the "these things happen" tone of his blog post. I don't know, maybe he was just in a bad mood that day, but like I said, I quite like "the young lady who wrote "No Strings"" and wasn't really happy with his implications.

Again, I have nothing but respect for Mr. Bechard and his films. His comment just irked me a little. Like Diesel 7 said, the terms "friends with benefits," "*beep*-buddies," etc. are widely known and it's a pretty simple concept that just seems to be in fashion lately.

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Thanks for backing me up on this one. This is exactly what I was trying to say. I fully respect both writers (actually all three, having seen this new "FWB" and finding it shockingly smartly written), and I do believe respect should be given from each writer to each writer. It's not the most novel concept, and quite a few television shows went there first. For instance: Scrubs season two, I loved that show for a while. It's just unkind and disrespectful to another's work to insinuate someone is guilty of plagiarism.

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Good call, that's actually one of my favorite Scrubs episodes. Now that you mention it, there are quite a few similarities between that episode and these movies.

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And perhaps you guys don't understand the history of Bechard's script, which was written in 1999, and made the rounds extensively. It's easy to make statements when you don't have all the facts.

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That's great about Scrubs, the second season of which aired in 2002/2003. My script made the Hollywood rounds extensively during the summer of 1999. (Which I stated in my initial post.)

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If I may once again respond. There's backstory here that is not about to be discussed on public boards. So please take that into consideration.

And as far as respecting the other writers, sorry. I honestly feel no respect is due. (For me, respect goes to people who have a body of work. I respect Woody Allen. I respect John Sayles. Or someone whose work is consistently brilliant, or if nothing else completely independent. But writing one or two mediocre Hollywood scripts. No. I'm sorry.) And again, for reasons that won't be discussed here. But if you know my work, and you've read my blogs, you know I speak my mind but also try to be fair. Please know I would never discuss this in any way (even this vague form) in a public forum if there wasn't reason.

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