Similar But Not the Same: 5 Pairs of Movies That Are Pretty Much the Same Thing

Friends With Benefits opens July 22, and more annoying than the fact that some studio executive probably said, "You know who I want to see in a movie? Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis!" is the fact that this movie comes out a brief six months after No Strings Attached, which is basically the same story line. Sure, we all got a little mad when Hangover II ended up being pretty much the same thing as Hangover I, but who doesn't go into a sequel without expecting it to be somewhat like the original?

What I have a problem with are movies that purport to be completely separate franchises but are essentially the same story. To make matters more infuriating, these movies tend to appear around the same time, have actors of similar bone structure and have the same number of words in their titles.

In Friends With Benefits, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis star as two friends who like to have sex with each other without all of that icky relationship stuff. Of course, there ends up being some kind of complication because it turns out they really like each other and I'm guessing there's a scene of someone running through the streets in the rain.

I really liked this movie the first time I saw it...when it was called No Strings Attached. Okay, maybe that was a rehashing of a David Spade joke, but if the studios aren't even going to try, why should I?

And why are these movies coming out within months of each other? Did Hollywood think that we were just dying for yet another movie about a guy and a girl who are friends but decide to have sex because it's easier than being in a "real relationship"? Did they not think we could just rewatch that episode of Sex and the City?

In any case, this is nothing new, and Hollywood has remade itself time and time again. So, just to drive home our point, we came up with five pairs of movies that are way too much alike.

1. The Illusionist and The Prestige. Both are gothic dramas about magicians. The Illusionist gets points for being "artier." The Prestige, on the other hand, has Michael Caine.

2. Love Actually and Valentine's Day

Both have star-studded casts and revolve around multiple stories about love and relationships.

Love Actually

, however, has touching performances by Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson;

Valentine's Day

, lamentably, has Ashton Kutcher.

3. Armageddon and Deep Impact.

Comets are out to destroy the world in each of these movies. In


, a team is sent to space to destroy the comet.

Deep Impact

focuses on those who are chosen to survive.


has better special effects, more Hollywood badassery and a more satisfying ending, but

Deep Impact

paints a better picture of human nature. Kind of.

4. Volcano and Dante's Peak

I took a course in geology for summer school one year. Apparently,

Dante's Peak

is accurate in terms of what happens when a volcano erupts, and



Dante's Peak

also has eye candy in the form of Pierce Brosnan.

5. Murder By Death and Clue

Both are about groups of people invited to a dinner party and eventually called upon to solve the murder of the host.


was based on the popular board game and was released with three different theatrical endings.

Murder by Death

was written by Neil Simon and has a killer cast that includes Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith and David Niven;


's got hilarious performances by Madeline Kahn and Tim Curry. In the end, though, it's


's understated script and performances that triumph over


's overblown ones.

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