Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I guess my question, after watching Jennifer Westfeldt’s ‘Friends with Kids’ would be how many men out there have a woman as a best friend? Or even a really good friend? Just curious is all. I mean I’ve been around for a little while now, and while I’ve known a lot of women I’ve been friendly with, I’ve never had a woman I could call ‘a friend’. Meaning somebody I would call up just to chew the fat with or hang out with. Now I’ve have a couple of male friends who have had women as friends… and I mean a few, as in two… but one is an ex, and the other is a lesbian. And I hope they’re not reading this, but the only reason this guy is a friend to the lesbian is because he’s still angling to get into her pants. Shameful. I’m thinking straight men and women can’t be good friends. Sex always gets in the way. This movie kind of supports that theory.

Anyway, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Westfeldt) are best buds. Jason is a womanizer, Julie is still searching for the one, but they always have each other. They even live in the same apartment building. Also in their sophisticated crew of New Yorkie types are married couples Ben (Jon Hamm) and Missy (Kristen Wiig), as well as Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O’Dowd). These urbanites hang out, go to nice restaurants, talk about important liberal type stuff and enjoy each other’s company mightily. Then the married couples start having kids and that changes everything. From Jason and Julie’s perspective, their friend’s relationships are severely fractured now, and it’s all because of the kids. It’s like they didn’t know what they were getting into.

Thing is Jason and Julie would like kids too, but they are getting old, they haven’t meant ‘the one’ yet and since they are great friends with similar values, why not just do that thing this one time, have a kid and split the duties fifty-fifty. While this sounds like the worst idea me and all the characters in this movie has ever heard, these crazy kids do this thing and nine months later little Joe is born.

Turns out Jason and Julie’s plan, despite the negative views of their friends, was a good one. They are still friends, they share the duties, and they are raising a great kid while still looking for a soul mate. But we know that’s not going to last now don’t we? Jason

soon meets Mary Jane… played by Megan Fox… and what more do we really need to say about that. Jason is in love. Sure Mary Jane might be a little shallow and she’s not all that crazy about kids, but she has other stuff she brings to the table. Julie should be happy for her ‘best friend’, but she’s not. And she doesn’t understand why. Then Julie meets Kurt (Edward Burns) who is everything any reasonable woman could want in a man. Truly this cat erupted out of some woman’s fertile imagination he’s so awesome. I’d almost date him. But dammit… he’s just not Jason. If only Jason felt the same way about Julie… which he doesn’t and he makes that very clear. Now best friends aren’t so friendly any more. If only someway, somehow, these crazy kids could see what everybody else has been seeing for the last twenty or so years.

Before I begin, one of the hooks for this movie is the sight of kids greatly misbehaving out at restaurants. Just so you know my parents could take me, my sister and my brother anywhere they pleased. In fact, people used to lean over and say… ‘Your kids are so well behaved’… as if we had a choice in the matter. I even tried to whisper to these idiots ‘help us please…’ So I really can’t relate to kids misbehaving in public. Mine know better as well.

Regardless, ‘Friends with Kids’ was enjoyable enough I suppose, and Jennifer Westfeldt shows a steady directing hand with her subject matter, but like 99.9% of all Romantic Comedies you are kind of forced to separate yourself from reality to completely buy into it. Big fans of the RomCom genre are used to this, so they probably won’t have much of a problem, but everybody else might struggle with it. Such as, like I mentioned earlier, a woman as a male best friend with whom you discuss your most intimate details with. I don’t know if I’d discuss this kind of stuff with anybody, much less my tall beautiful female best friend. Of course I just might be a weirdo and a lot of dudes have beautiful female friends, of whom they have no designs on, that they hang out with, talk to for hours, and share deep secrets with.

The basic concept of the movie, a pair good friends having sex only to have a baby, is suitably wacky but it is handled as such by Westfeldt’s script and the characters react to this insane concept as one would expect them to.

The cast was a good one, almost as if they were all still in town after shooting ‘Bridesmaids’ so they all decided to help out with this movie, and the movie does attack some serious issues, mostly in a humorous way… though kids didn’t come off too well. Admittedly, children are largely self centered, selfish bastards who if you weren’t genetically wired to love, you would probably have very little to do with… but that’s beside the point. I don’t know if Jennifer is all that crazy about kids.

I don’t know. ‘Friends with Kids’ was a solid movie, and an odd take on the RomCom, and one with a bizarre ending… but it left me slightly baffled about what the writer /director was shooting for here. If she was shooting for anything.

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