FRIENDS WITH KIDS
Written and Directed by Jennifer Westfeldt
Starring Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Ed Burns and Megan Fox
I don’t know if you’ve heard this one before but indulge me a moment. Couples, no matter how much chemistry they have, be that physical or emotional, will inevitably crumble to pieces when they bring kids into their lives. For years now, love and intimacy have been seen as the killers of freedom and individuality. Now, its time for babies to step in and bring their special brand of devastation to the cornerstone of American society known as marriage. Enter new comedy, FRIENDS WITH KIDS, from first time director, Jennifer Westfeldt, to either capitalize on or continue to perpetuate this modern notion.
FRIENDS WITH KIDS is a sharp, savvy comedy, set in what seems like the only place this story could take place, New York City. Two perfectly plutonic friends, played by the charmingly neurotic Westfeldt and the just plain charming, Adam Scott, decide to have a baby together when they see how their friends’ relationships have deteriorated after having them. They both want kids but they don’t want the disaster that comes with having them. Just look at their examples! To their right, they have Jon Hamm and Kristin Wiig. They used to have sex constantly but post-baby, they can barely look at each other. To their left, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd are drowning in diapers and despair. Can Westfeldt and Scott avoid the baby bomb that killed their friends? Though obvious counterpoints to play off of, this miniature BRIDESMAIDS reunion ensemble brings humanity to these characters, allowing them to be more real than they would have been in lesser hands. It may never get uproarious but Westfeldt provides her laughs with enough insight and heart to make them matter.
I know plenty of people who subscribe to this “Baby = Bad” theory and are putting off children specifically out of fear for what hell they will bring. That being said, I know just as many people who have children and who have become stronger families as a result. The truth of it is, and please keep in mind this is a truth spoken by someone who neither has children nor is in any position to have them anytime in the near future, that having children is difficult. It will place a strain on your relationship that may cause irreparable damage if you aren’t careful. If you survive the initial stress though, the strength derived from the experience is invaluable. And even though FRIENDS WITH KIDS is ripe with easy devices and tricks, Westfeldt (who incidentally wrote and starred in one of my favourite indies, KISSING JESSICA STEIN) is a clever enough writer to understand that even cliches have enough nuances of their own that separate them from the pack. From the way she takes care of her characters, you can tell this film is her baby.
Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.
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