Friends with Kids

PhotobucketA circle of 6 friends includes passionate newlyweds Missy and Ben, content married couple Leslie and Alex, and unattached pals Jason and Julie, who have yet to find their soulmates. At first they frequently enjoy the hip nightlife of urban Manhattan. However, this soon changes after both married couples have kids. Jason and Julie lament the way life has adjusted since their friends have become parents. Still, it hasn’t taken away their own desire to become parents oddly enough. They decide to romantically hook up and have a baby. They’ll agree to share the responsibility of raising that child 50-50, unencumbered by the marital constraints that’s seem to have put a strain on their friend’s marriages.

Ultra modern comedy about relationships and families is bolstered by an appealing supporting cast. Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig along with Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd play the two married couples. All four were also in last year’s Bridesmaids. The atmosphere here is decidedly more serious than the lighthearted tone of that picture. The script has assembled a collection of interesting individuals but it keeps resorting to sitcom clichés. The setups appear more designed to elicit guffaws than to serve personalities that behave logically. The main story is centered on Jason and Julie. Adam Scott as Jason never quite connects as a fully formed human being. He’s a popular ladies man that has been Julie’s confidant since college. A sitcom conceit, his egotism is played for laughs. Actress Jennifer Westfeldt (who’s in a longtime relationship with co-star Jon Hamm in real life) plays Julie more on the sympathetic side.  Nevertheless, she can be rather self involved as well.  As the story continues, the fluctuating “Oops she’s falling in love with HIM” vs. the “Oops he’s falling in love with HER” structure, never rises above what feels like a very good TV comedy.

Friends with Kids is not without its charms. Star Jennifer Westfeldt also wrote and directed. She was responsible for co-writing and co-starring in the hit independent film Kissing Jessica Stein with Heather Juergensen in 2001. Overall Westfeldt has fashioned a humorous twist on modern relationships. Her non-traditional take is entertaining. She brings a vulnerability that makes her character Julie likable even when she becomes self absorbed. Her flaws seem minor when contrasted with her friend Jason. He’s unapologetically arrogant. Actor Jason Scott is often typecast as unlikable types and Jason is sometimes difficult to defend here. While we never question his unfailing support toward Julie, his egotistical personality can make him a bit hard to champion over the course of an entire movie. He’s not a bad person. At times his humor can be endearing. It’s during those moments that we understand what Julie sees in him. Jennifer Westfeldt’s reflection on adults in their late 30s and having children is just captivating enough to hold our attention. While Friends with Kids occasionally lapses into superficial and predictable situations, the way the narrative plays out is frequently funny and insightful.

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6 Responses to “Friends with Kids”

  1. For a comedy, it had a lot of serious realism to it. The balance swayed a little more to the serious side. Needed a bit more comedy. Kristen Wiig was very limited here. Her character could have been played by anybody. I thought I would never say this, but Megan Fox was actually pretty good.

  2. Nice review. I really want to see this. I love the supporting cast and Adam Scott. I’ve never seen a movie with Jennifer Westfeldt.

  3. I really want to see this, but I am going to see “Warrior” first. Excellent review as usual.

  4. I’ve not heard much about this but the cast is amazing! Great review, fingers crossed it will come out over here. Thanks for reviewing it, I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like.

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