Despite a great cast, the film just doesn’t leave a lasting impression.
March 19, 2012 by webmaster
Friends with Kids writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt has been dating Mad Men’s hunky star John Hamm for the past 15 years, but she has more than good taste to her credit. She’s perhaps best known for co-writing and performing in the 2001 indie hit Kissing Jessica Stein. She’s a more than capable writer, as the sharp dialogue in Friends with Kids suggests. But, despite extensive acting experience (especially on television), she’s not particularly compelling in the lead role of a 30-somethings flick that, despite a great cast, just doesn’t leave a lasting impression.
The film’s plot revolves around best friends Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Westfeldt), a couple of somewhat stereotypical witty New Yorkers who decide that by having a child together out of wedlock and splitting custody they can avoid the arguments and relationship fatigue their married friends encountered after they had kids. Their friends, Missy (Kristen Wiig), Ben (Hamm), Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O’Dowd), aren’t oblivious to what Jason and Julie are thinking. But, while they realize their own relationships aren’t perfect, they doubt their buddies can maintain a close friendship while jointly raising a child.
In predictable fashion, things become complicated for Jason and Julie, particularly when Jason starts dating an attractive but vapid young dancer (Megan Fox) and Julie hooks up with an earnest divorcee (Edward Burns). Tension mounts and at a New Year’s Eve celebration, Ben expresses feelings for Julie, leading her to believe he loves her, despite the fact that their only sexual encounter occurred when they were trying to conceive.
Scott and Westfeldt do have some chemistry, but the rest of the characters seem underused. Wiig barely has any lines in the movie and Burns and Fox seem underdeveloped. And this is no spoiler alert, the film’s impossibly happy ending won’t catch anyone off guard. While the storyline has a basis in reality (it stems from something Hamm and Westfeldt experienced in their own lives), it moves a little slowly, involves a lot of over-dinner banter, and opts for one too many conventional scenes . . . you know, like the one where the guy has an emotional epiphany while driving and is oblivious to a light change and a cacophony of honking cars.