Sunday, August 12, 2012

Friends with Kids

What happens when the cast of Bridesmaids (2011) gets together for an entirely different type of comedy.  "Friends with Kids" brings together Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, and Jon Hamm in a film written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt. 

The story relates three different couples at various stags of their relationships.  The main pair is Adam Scott (Jason) and Jennifer Westfeldt (Julie), who is working triple duty as the writer/director. They are two best friends who decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic, so they can avoid the toll kids can take on romantic relationships.  This ideal situation is contrasted by Maya Rudolph (Leslie) and Chris O'Dowd (Alex) who are busily married with two children.  The third relationship is a loveless marriage of Kristen Wiig (Missy) and Jon Hamm (Ben) who where once an overly affectionate couple making love in the restaurant restroom and now completely despise the idea of each other.  

Julie and Jason have been best friends for years with no romantic interest in each other. Jason sleeps with someone new every few days, and Julie is looking for Mr. Right. Now in their thirties, they notice that their friends seem to lose all their good qualities when they are married and have children; together they wonder if there is a better way.  So instead they decide that they will be 100% committed to the arrangement of having a child together 50% of the time.  They can get the joy of having a child without all of the messy parts of a relationship.  They can remain friends and still go out and have relationships with better looking people like Kurt (Ed Burns) for Julie and Mary Jane (Megan Fox) for Jason.  What could go wrong? 

The film follows a formula, so you won't be surprised by how the film ends.  However, the performances are fun to watch and engage you in how they get to the ultimate conclusion.  What the arrangement doesn't take into consideration is the most important part of a relationship, the unknown factor that together gets resolved and helps to strengthen a relationship.  The three year time laps of the film is at times laughable, as they ignore some of the critical moments of the arrangement.  You never see Julie pregnant and you never really understand why Ben and Missy are no longer in love with each other.  The ending, while expected, is poorly written.  Jason's line of "let me fuck the shit out of you tonight and prove that I'm so into you in that way" was shockingly bad, considering the rest of the film was written so well.  I do wish that I had seen this in the theater, but ultimately it is only a 3 Quack film and netflix hasn't disappointed me. 

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