Movie review: Friends with Kids
When two platonic friends decide to raise a baby together, what could go wrong? Lots, of course! Writer/director/actress Jennifer Westfeldt brings humor, raunch and extraordinary vulnerability to Friends with Kids.
It's no secret that friendships between men and women exist in murky waters. Perhaps Harry from When Harry Met Sally... said it best, "Men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way." But what if the man and woman decide to make a baby together because they still haven't found their true loves and, oh yeah, her biological clock is clanging? The answer seems to be a no-brainer to Julie and Jason, especially since all their married friends with kids seem to be over-worked, under-snoozed and definitely under-sexed to the point of misery.
Westfeldt plays Julie, an independent woman who yearns to have a family without the headache of marital complications. Adam Scott plays Jason, who adores Julie, but not in the "love" kind of way. It's difficult at first to figure out why -- Westfeldt is gorgeous and smart, kind and reliable. It's only when Jason starts dating Mary Jane, a nubile Broadway dancer with tattoos that look a lot like Megan Fox's tattoos (oh, wait, it is Megan Fox!) we realize he just doesn't want to grow up. Jason's fallen into the sandbox of arrested development and can't get up. So the plan to live the post-modern American dream makes sense for these star-crossed pals and, much to the chagrin of their married friends, it even works! They are happy, no ecstatic, with their lives. That is, for a while. Cue the When Harry Met Sally quote…
Friends with Kids takes seriously the modern woman's dilemma of wanting career, family, love and sex. Her journey is harrowing. It is hard. It can be hilarious. This movie is all three of those things. Having borrowed nearly the entire cast from the girl-powered comedy-hit Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and the adorable Chris O'Dowd make for one of the best comedic ensembles we'll most likely see in 2012. It was fabulous to see Kristen Wiig put aside the goofs and giggles to reach deeper and portray a woman whose marriage is falling apart. And I can't take my eyes off Jon Hamm, in any era, in any outfit. Kudos to Westfeldt for creating such a mindful and entertaining film.
Bottom line: Friends with Kids examines the nit, grit and wit of family and marriage in this successful comedy for modern times.