Friends With Kids: Movie Review
What if Friends With Benefits was fast-forwarded ten years, and was about no-strings-attached parenthood instead of no-strings-attached sex? That seems to be the whole premise of this unfunny and predictable film from writer, director, and star Jennifer Westfeldt.
Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Westfeldt) have been best friends for years. They are also the only unmarried members of their group of friends, and everyone else is suddenly having babies, drastically changing lives (not always for the better). The two decide to have a child together, and then amicably split custody. That way, they can have a family, but still have plenty of time free for “the love of their life”, whenever that person shows up. Will they be able to raise a child, have crazy singles lives, and still remain just friends?
Of course not. And we know they are meant for each other, but it still takes over an hour and a half to reach that conclusion.
But familiar story lines can be kept fresh with engaging characters and dramatic tension, both of which are relatively absent here. The film opens with Jason and Julie flaunting their ambiguously wealthy Manhattan lifestyles, and being generally superficial and sometimes downright mean; it made it difficult to sympathize with them for a good portion of the movie. By the time they’ve become more likeable human beings, the film has moved on to some seriously not fun personal anguish among the friends.
I’ll say one thing for Westfeldt: she got some wonderful performances out of the ensemble cast, and directing might be her forte. (You know you’re good when even Megan Fox seems more engaged and human than usual.) Kristen Wiig turns in easily the best and most subtle performance of her career to date, and with onscreen hubby Jon Hamm (real-life partner of Westfeldt) provides both the funniest and most genuinely sad moments of the film. Adam Scott combines both the scrawny nice guys and slick jerks he’s played to produce someone nicely three dimensional here. And his raw sincerity turns the filthy proposition of the final scene into a heartfelt and hilarious closing dialogue.
Did you see Friends With Kids? What did you think?