Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, Edward Burns
Directed by Jennifer Westfeldt (directorial debut)
Spoiler Alert: This article reveals some plot spoilers.
Friends with Kids is like a chocolate-covered fossilized terd. Sure, it looks yummy and interesting, but once you break through and discover what it's made of, you find out that it is full of crap.
Let me explain. Friends With Kids tries to be a progressive story about a man and a woman who happen to be platonic best friends. Not wanting to follow in all of their married friends' footsteps, where children seemed to have ruined everything, they agree to have a kid together, and date other people. It is a social experiment that seems to suggest that the whole concept of marriage and parenthood can only lead to pain and suffering.
Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt (who also wrote and directed) are Jason and Julie, the two single friends in question. The idea that marriage leads to ruin fuels them to have a kid to fulfill both of their parental needs. For a long stretch, the film says something. Until it doesn't.
The married couples are played with hilarity by Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd. The scenes where all six friends are together are really well designed and hysterical at times. There is a lot of comedy in the film, much of which is blunt and shocking warranting the R rating.
Kristen Wiig is present but oddly never given any time to shine. Her's is more of a dramatic role, actually. The laughs are reserved for many of the others, with Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd shining brighter than the rest.
Almost as if the film didn't know where to end up after proposing such a unique concept, it decides to settle down in the lousy land of rom-com cliche. Where this journey takes us is where we expect it to, which is sad and unfortunate given the set-up.
As daring as the premise may have been, it says nothing new about relationships and ultimately decides that the new ideas presented to us in the film are unrealistic. We already knew this at the start, wouldn't it have been infinitely more interesting to go against our expectations?
Opens locally Friday, March 9th, 2012
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