Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friends with Kids: Movie Review


Authenticity and maturity to a dramatic romantic comedy.

“Friends with Kids” is the long-awaited third feature written by, directed by, produced by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt. 10 years ago she came out with the charming, witty and somewhat original romantic comedy “Kissing Jessica Stein” and then 5 years later followed that up with the charming, witty and somewhat original romantic comedy “Ira & Abby”. I loved all three.

Directed by: Jennifer Westfeldt

Screenplay by: Jennifer Westfeldt

Starring: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt and Maya Rudolph

“Kissing Jessica Stein” and “Ira & Abby” both featured a new approach to finding love. One was more down to Earth than the other, but they had the same thoughts and feelings that we all have every day expressed in a heartfelt, exploratory way. Now that we are all older, “Friend with Kids” approaches that next stage of life in a novel way.

Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) are lifelong friends who haven’t found the “one” yet. Their friends are married with kids. They realize that they both want kids, just not the way their friends did it since they are miserable.

Jason and Julie ignore what society tells us to and come up with their own plan. The first point in this subtle, but genius, writing is that they are not purposely anti-society. They are not like non-conformists thinking that they are better than everybody else; they’re just doing the best they can to be happy in their own life.

The cheap baby humour is in part kept to a minimum. And I did find myself laughing a fair bit during the opening third of the film. Westfeldt has done the awkward first date sequences before, but it’s always a joy watching Scott play the overly-confident bed hopper.

The second point in this subtle, but genius writing, is how well Scott and Westfeldt’s characters were portrayed to us. I didn’t even realize how much I loved both of them until we entered the second third of the film and sympathies started shifting. I cared about both Jason and Julie and when they started wanting different things, I was completely torn. The film’s writing has such an affecting articulation that it connects on a very personal level, and emotions come out in a very real way.

Most people love the casting because it reunites a handful of “Bridesmaids” actors, but the best part to me was Edward Burns playing the “perfect” boyfriend. Because I agree, if there was such thing, he would probably be perfect.

“Friends with Kids” might be more mature on the surface, but the “Bridesmaids”-styled humour brings that down a notch. However, when we get to the heart of the film, it is way more dramatic than it is funny, and more honest and genuine than most things in our life.


Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) - A cute and witty version of the romantic comedy as a girl tries to figure out what she wants.

Ira & Abby (2006) - A cute and witty version of the romantic comedy as a couple take a different approach to love.