Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Friends with Kids (2011)

Friends-With-KidsThe Proposal opened my horizons to romantic comedies. The character introductions and situations lead the way. The conflict erupts. An untenable situation that stands to divide the two characters that I am rooting for suddenly arises. After some time, the blocking issue is resolved for a predictable happy ending. It’s an oft-tried, oft-failed formula that, when done well, is a blissful ride.

The first scene of Friends with Kids introduces us to six longtime friends—two couples and two best friends (four of them Bridesmaids alums). They are energetic 30-somethings on the cusp of child bearing and rearing. As children arrive, the tension between the couples and friends is tested. It gives voice to the effects of kids on relationships: some will struggle and make it, others won’t.

In the opening scene, Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O’Dowd) announce their pregnancy. We see the changes, the struggles and what follows. Missy (Kristen Wiig) and Ben (Jon Hamm) follow suit with different results. Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) are best friends who, early on, declared their mutual non-attraction to one another but hatch the perfect plan—conceive and raise a child. The plan works until they start navigating dating and co-parenting.

I had a hard time believing Julie and Jason would end up together if he so adamantly didn’t feel attracted to her. He tries to justify it but it doesn’t seem plausible. Remember the scene in When Harry Met Sally when Harry realizes he wants to be with Sally? There, you believe it. Here, I didn’t believe he would come around.

A few beefs: Hamm needs to stop playing Don Draper. Wiig’s character is criminally underused and undeveloped—1-D all the way. Ed Burns has a bit role in which he is lame and boring. Megan Fox has her usual hot girl role.

I recommend this one with a caveat. The Proposal is a very different movie but after recommending, I learned that some loved it, several hated it and there were eye rolls. Both are worth a roll of the dice.

Writer/Director: Jennifer Westfeldt

Country: US

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 107 minutes

Scale: 3.5