Friends With Kids (2012)

Womanising advertiser Jason Fryman (Adam Scott) and his investment supervisor best friend Julie Keller (Jennifer Westfeldt) have watched helplessly over the last four years as their quartet of dedicated friends (Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm) have become pregnant, had babies and proceeded to grow apart. Rather than wait until they have each found “the one” to follow suit, and mindful of the toll parenthood has taken on those around them, Jason and Julie decide to have a baby themselves, as friends, certain in the knowledge that their friendship will endure where the marriages of their friends have (maybe) not.

Reuniting much of the cast of 2011’s Bridesmaids to form the base of its ensemble, Friends With Kids puts Adam Scott and actor-writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt front and centre in this self-consciously unconventional tale of love and parenting. Spread over numerous years and almost as many gatherings, the film tells the story of three couples (only two of whom are an actual item) as they navigate the first few years of their various children’s lives.

For much of its 107 minute running time, Friends With Kids is an amusing, likeable and passably original take on the rom-com genre. As BFFs Jason and Julie progress from child-haters (in fancy restaurants, at least) to first-time parents, much to the horror of their supportive but sceptical friends (each propagating the more conventional nuclear family unit), Wetfieldt mines much truth – if not necessarily laugh-out-loud comedy – from her unlikely premise. With an affable, not-too-smug cast, showy New York setting and well-observed script, the results are about a million miles from the cynical and soulless Sex and the City films.

While the movie may lack a particularly stand out performance (save Chris O’Dowd’s jarringly misguided attempt at an American accent – which commits to memory for all of the wrong reasons), the capable cast are never anything less than compelling throughout. Kristen Wiig fares surprisingly well in a role that is notably devoid of laughs, while Rudolph, O’Dowd and Hamm flesh out their similarly supportive parts as the eponymous friends. Scott and Westfeldt, meanwhile, are largely engaging in the lead roles, even if the latter does default to stereotype a little too readily to truly reconcile with the writer’s intent. Strangely, it is Magan Fox who impresses most, her performer endearing on a level you might not have thought the Transformers actress capable of.

Unfortunately, what starts out as a promising, organic and novel stab at challenging the rigorously policed familial ideal soon compromises its apparent message of innovation by pandering to the usual mould. The drawn-out finale smacks of contrivance as the script struggles to bring Jason and Julie together without invoking comparisons to the 10 year courtship of Ross and Rachel (or any other onscreen romance that has purposely delayed the inevitable with bad timings and intermittent feelings for one another). It would be easy to blame the kids, but this fault lies squarely with the multitasking Westfeldt instead.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Friends With Kids (2012)

  1. Pingback: July 2012 – You don’t wanna know what I have to do for twenties « popcornaddict

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