Sunday, November 4, 2012

FRIENDS WITH KIDS

Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Maya Rudolph
Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Chris O'Dowd,
Megan Fox, Edward Burns


"Family doesn't always go according to Plan"




This film is written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, the partner of Jon Hamm from "Mad Men". The couple have never married and don't have kids but have a healthy relationship that has been going on for 15 years. The idea for the film came about when the couple observed their friends changed once they started having children. 

Westfeldt then presents us 3 couples (who all happen to be friends) to showcase her point.  We meet newlyweds Missy (Kristen Wiig) and Ben (Jon Hamm) who can't get enough of each other.   Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O'Dowd) announce they are expecting their first child.  The 3rd pair Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) are best friends who are still single.

The story transitions to 4 years later where everything has changed.  Leslie and Alex are always bickering as they deal with two kids they can barely handle.  Missy and a heavy-drinking Ben who is always in a bad mood try to cope with a newborn while constantly bickering with each other.  Seeing what parenthood has done to the relationship of their closest friends, Jason and Jennifer decide to have a baby together but with a twist.  They plan to be single parents and share the responsibility 50/50. 

Their plan bears fruit and soon enough they are equally raising a little boy they name Joe. Things go well until they find themselves in relationships with other people who don't necessarily agree with their little arrangement.

"Friends with Kids" seemed like several episodes of the sitcoms "Friends" and "Parenthood" were molded into a full length movie which isn't necessarily a bad thing in this case.  The dialogue was quite frank and honest but so hilarious. The storyline dealt with valid and very adult issues which crop up during marriage in general as well as the different ways of parenting.  

The ensemble cast composed of mostly veteran comic actors were excellent.  A sort of "Bridesmaids" reunion with Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd and Jon Hamm in significant roles. I absolutely love Edward Burns (in any film) even though he had a very brief yet vital role.  But surely the true star of the show is Jennifer Westfeldt herself.   Her nuanced portrayal of Julie was vibrant, funny and very endearing.

"Friends with Kids" is an unconventional story about friendships, relationships and parenthood. It had all the elements of a successful romantic comedy even unfortunately the very predictable yet happy ending.

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