We could see this coming a mile away … off the heels of Bridesmaids’ success last year, one could expect to see a few derivative films that a) kinda-sorta follow a similar theme b) featured many of the same cast members or c) both a) and b). Friends with Kids has appeared to go for option c).
Directed, written by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein), the story centers on three sets of friends – two married couples (Maya Rudolph/Chris O’Dowd and Kristen Wiig/Jon Hamm) and the obligatory “platonic friends”(Westfeldt and Adam Scott). We first see the married folks’ lives as so cool – living in NYC, footloose and fancy-free and vowing not to be ” on of those ” parents when the blessed moment arrives. Fast-forward a few years and low and behold, we see just how their lives have shaken out as a result of producing offspring. It is obvious that both couples are frazzled (and one couple even lives in Brooklyn, very annoying); but while one set appear to be holding it together, another relationship is crumbling under the child-rearing pressure.
Observing this alteration in their friends’ lives, our chaste couple confesses to the other their desire to have a kid of their own, but without the strings of being romantically involved. Solution? Let’s have one together and share the responsibility and avoid all that messiness. This should SO work, especially since they are not in the least bit sexually attracted to one another [wink]. What could possibly go wrong?
Well for the remainder of the film, we find out just what happens – we see them try to juggle the challenges of raising a child while at the same time being in pursuit of their respective “ones” – enter Megan Fox and Edwards Burns, maybe? I will leave it to you to fill in the remaining plot details.
I entered this film with rather lukewarm expectations and they were in fact met. Sure, it had its chuckle-worthy moments (mostly courtesy of the Rudolph/O’Dowd interplay – Rudolph is a new ‘favorite’ of mine) but on the whole this film did not work for me. I cannot pinpoint exactly what left me feeling so ambivalent, but here are a few contenders:
- I have grown tired of this stylized view of life in the big city (à la Friends). Even my friends that live like this do not live like this, if you catch my drift.
- I was never entirely sold on the premise of the main characters becoming parents in the first place.
- Maybe it was the mood I was in as a result of the circumstances surrounding the screening I attended (more on that tomorrow).
Taking everything into account, this is a film that I could have waited and seen at home. So that is my recommendation: if you must see this film, let it be a rental.
Starring: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox, Edward Burns