Movie Review: Friends with Kids
Stopping off to be a comedy for a while, Friends with Kids takes a leisurely circuitous route to being a drama filled with clever commentary, though not necessarily consensus, on the meaning of love and relationships.
Ten years after Kissing Jessica Stein, a clever romantic comedy that she co-wrote and starred in, Jennifer Westfeldt returns with her directorial debut, an equally witty and charming, and thoroughly smart, addition to popular culture and romance lexicon.
Witness to their friends’ sexual decline due to marriage with children, life-long platonic friends Julie, a lovely Westfeldt, and Jason, a very winning Adam Scott, decide to have a child in order to avoid a similar descent, including falling out of love with the would-be parent. The unconventional approach to parenting and relationship receives the support or some, and derision of others; comedic from parents while dramatic from friends.
Their friends include Kristin Wiig and Jon Hamm, the once wild, attractive couple who come down to earth when they have a child. Completing the sextet are Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, more accepting in their domestic lifestyle, if not often frustrated and full of hormones. Hamm is once again great at what has become his typical character-an attractive but grumpy malcontent who descends into the darkness and banality of life–while Wiig is sardonic, but quite underutilized.
Rudolph and O’Dowd are foils to those two, but the movie is primarily about the ever-evolving relationship between its two very charming stars. With all their candor and closeness (and dirty jokes), they create a baby, raise the child, and grow to both meet their hopeful-eternal partners, a dashing Edward Burns for Julie and a sultry Megan Fox, or Megan Fox, for Jason.
Tension begins to run high at a trip when the eight of them, plus children, attend together, culminating in a defining moment for all the characters, a powerful and intriguing scene that stands out more than any in the movie.
The title is multi-layed, just like Kissing Jessica Stein. Julie and Jason know their friends before and after these two couples decided to bring life into the world. They see the change and are quixotic in their plan. They become, of course, two friends with child of their own, though it is always hard to maintain the same relationship throughout. And there would be a moral of the tale, or one of, in that whatever you choose to do with someone, there will be thought and work required.
Smartly written, the film is clever and mature, and rightly doesn’t strive to be outrageous or preachy. It doesn’t necessarily try to dictate how relationships should proceed, it simply offers an endearing and honest look at the lives of a group of friends, and two auspicious ones in particular.