FRIENDS WITH KIDS
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
JULY 18, 2012
Our generation’s values and opinions grow further and further from our ancestors’ with each passing year. How else do you explain our president in the White House, the dying debate on whether to make gay marriage legal, and even the premise of “Friends With Kids,” which involves two friends deciding to bring a child into the world out of wedlock? Now, I am not against any of this and have a very liberal and open mind when it comes to these issues, but upon reflecting on our current state of affairs, it is a wonder to think how far we’ve come.
Directed by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt, “Friends With Kids” is comparable to “Friends With Benefits,” except instead of drawing up rules on how to have sex without dating, the couple in this film, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt), decide to act. At the same time, their bodies still allow them to have a child without committing to a relationship and continuing to date outside of one another. There’s no possible way this could go wrong.
Their decision comes after their two groups of friends, Ben (Jon Hamm) and Missy (Kristen Wiig), and Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O’Dowd), have babies of their own. Watching their friends’ relationships strain under the weight of children, they vow to “break the system” and produce a child out of wedlock to keep the romantic feelings separate from their family life. Following the same one-foot-in-front-of-the-other plot structure of most romantic comedies, you can guess where this leads.
Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt’s chemistry is undeniably good; both are cynical enough to play off one another and come off utterly perfect for each other. But it’s when you meet their new significant others, Edward Burns and Megan Fox, you realize they might not be that perfect for each other after all.
Once again, Jon Hamm is the asshole. Maybe he is being type-cast or just good at it, or perhaps he is always in need of a change from his nice-guy role in “Mad Men.” No matter the combination of reasons, he becomes one of the most real characters, voicing the same concerns the audience has towards this couple. Though his marriage might be suffering, he can at least state the obvious.
“Friends With Kids” suffers from predictability, with no real surprises and nothing out of the ordinary. It is nice to see Adam Scott take a step up since his days on the television series “Party Down” and taking leading roles for a change. Jennifer Westfeldt reveals the hand of a rookie director, and although the film comes off technically acceptable, there could have been more brushes of ingenuity. However, give me the well-known ensemble cast as it is enough to keep this film interesting at the very least.
March 9, 2012
(for sexual content and language)
William Rexer II