It seems that Natalie Portman is perfectly cast here. That steely, somewhat remote and cold demeanor that made her work in Closer some of the best film acting I've seen in ages* seems exactly right for this role.
But let's be honest, Mila Kunis completely upstages her. At least, she does as portrayed in this clip.
If you had asked me who on That 70s Show I thought would have a vibrant, interesting, varied career after that show went off the air about 3 years too late**, it wouldn't have been Kunis. Her Jackie was irritating, one-note, and her comic timing always felt a bit rushed (as if the beats came a split second sooner to her than they do for every other person on the planet).
But then she gave that beautifully warm and open performance in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which really is the only Apatow movie worth a damn***) that completely reinvented how I saw her. I frankly thought she was miscast when I heard that she would be in the film. But watching her in it made me see just how complete her work as Jackie Burkhart really was, because there was not a single trace of it in Rachel. She was utterly charming, and managed to make me forget for a minute how much I adore Kristen Bell (only a minute tho…I mean…it's Kristen Bell).
Watching her stretch and grow from Forgetting Sarah Marshall through Max Payne, Extract and The Book of Eli has been to watch an actress perfecting her craft in the subtlest and deepest of ways. The films may not work, but her work in them does. One could even go back and watch the awful awful American Psycho 2 and see a nascent talent taking tentative baby steps (and falling quite a bit, truthfully).
But in this trailer, Kunis is just magnetic. Even though we see so few extended shots of her, she feels like a whole real person.
She's the reason to see the movie, far as I'm concerned.
*I don't put much stock in Oscars and awards. It started, naturally, with Denzel's loss for Malcolm X, was intensified in the late 90s when Lisa Kudrow and Matt Damon failed to even be nominated for The Opposite of Sex and The Talented Mr. Ripley (respectively), and was solidified when Portman lost to Cate Blanchett in the one role where she was not very good at all.
**Yea, Topher Grace. Man – I would have put money on that one. Who knew?
***Sorry. He's the most overrated director to emerge since Quentin Tarantino.