Friends With Kids

Jennifer Westfeldt is clearly a woman intrigued with the dynamic of dysfunctional relationships. After writing and starring in Kissing Jessica Stein, a charming and offbeat comedy about a woman reduced to dating another woman after her male options prove less than satisfactory. Revolving around a similar high concept, Friends with Kids follows two besties (Westfeldt and Parks and Recreations’ Adam Scott) who decide to have a child and keep their relationship platonic after seeing the havoc children have wrought on their friends’ marriages.

 Starring many members of the Bridesmaid’s cast, including Jon Hamm, Westfeldt’s off screen partner (sorry to break it to you ladies!) , the film opens with a meal with the tight-knit group of six, happy, carefree and in the case of John Hamm and Kristen Wiig’s relationship, still in the spontaneous sex-in public bathrooms phase. At said event Maya Rudolf and Chris O’Dowd announce that they are going to have a baby but assure the group that nothing will change.

 Skipping forward four years we see the stark contrast of this statement. Both couples now have children and their relationships are frayed. Horrified by the snarling and bickering between their friends, Westfeldt and Scott decide that they should have a child together without being in a relationship to avoid such a fate.

 The chemistry between the two is easygoing and it’s very easy to buy them as lifelong friends who have their own intimate jokes and routines. It’s clear that they belong together. Initially their plan works surprisingly well, much to the shock of their friends who are somewhat offended by the choice the two have made. It is perhaps unrealistically portrayed just how easy they have it compared to their married friends’ chaotic lives. There is also perhaps less comedy that you would expect from such a stellar comedic cast and Rudolf and Wiig are often reduced to hysterical or bitchy wives which is often more depressing than funny, much of the comedy is left to the two leads.

 The marvellous John Hamm and Kristen Wiig are a welcome addition to the cast but are criminally underused. As mentioned Wiig’s role is more dramatic than comedic but she has so few lines that she never really gets to explore this new turf, which would have proved interesting viewing. Hamm has slightly more screen time and in fact features heavily in one of the most well crafted scenes centred around a dinner table discussion resulting in the deliverance of some unwelcome home truths.

 There are many funny moments notably a cut to the two in a bar after a disastrous gathering with Willie Nelsons ‘The Party’s over’ playing on the soundtrack. Occasionally there is an over reliance on the notion that as they are just friends and not lovers that complete honesty, to the point of vulgarity is permitted. While this does raise a laugh or two, it becomes stale before long and in this way the ending feels rather forced and crude, undermining any true sincerity.

 Despite the slightly jarring ending Friends with Kids is an enjoyable watch with many whimsical and heartfelt moments. It is hard to escape the feeling that had the rest of the cast been utilised more the film would significantly rise above usual rom-com standards. Scott and Westfeldt are great and so relatable that watching their relationship unfold is enjoyable and frustrating in equal measure. Despite the predictable ending and occasional crudeness, it’s an easygoing watch though maybe not one expectant parents would enjoy!

 

Verdict: ***

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Comments
4 Responses to “Friends With Kids”
  1. Hey there, You have performed an excellent job. I will definitely digg it and for my part suggest to my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

  2. Dan-O says:

    Movies like this seem geared for parents like myself who get allot of the inside jokes!

  3. this really is an awesome post, i’m happy i came across this. i will be back to look at out more of your articles later! lista de email lista de email lista de email lista de email lista de email

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