Wednesday 21 December 2022

Movie Review: Friends With Kids (2011)

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Jennifer Westfeldt
Starring: Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph, Megan Fox, and Edward Burns
Running Time: 100 minutes

Synopsis: Best friends Julie and Jason (Jennifer Westfeldt and Adam Scott) are both single and in their thirties. After witnessing passion seeping out of the marriages of friends who have kids, Julie and Jason decide to have a baby together but with no romantic commitments between them. All goes well until jealousies flare up when Jason hooks up with dancer Mary Jane (Megan Fox) and Julie attracts the attention of ideal husband material Kurt (Edward Burns).

What Works Well: Writer, director, and star Jennifer Westfeldt has some sharp observations about kids disrupting the harmony of couples, and finds a few funny moments as Julie and Jason transition from observers of parenthood to creators of a brave new model. The supporting cast (Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig are one couple, Chris O'Dowd and Maya Rudolph another) is strong and adds a diversity of outcomes. The running time is crisp enough, while the Manhattan and Brooklyn locations add appeal.

What Does Not Work As Well: All the adults are in their thirties, and yet communicate with the obsessed vulgarity of young teenagers discovering the hilarity of sex and body parts. Westfeldt loses courage in the third act, defaulting to the most trite genre conventions, and the final scene is a poorly written embarrassment, betraying creative bankruptcy.

Conclusion: A romantic comedy with an initial burst of bold ideas succumbs to conformity. 

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