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“Friends with Kids” – Review (SO-SO POSITIVE)

March 10, 2012

“Friends with Kids” is a movie I feel that many married couples with children can understand from the get go.  The films writer/director Jennifer Westfeldt, who is also the star of the film, writes a very honest script about the different groups of married couples, unmarried couples, and best friends, all who share that one connection, a baby. The film has great comic performances from some very talented people, but it does sadly however not go all the way, when it comes to the last ACT, it becomes a tad predictable.

The last two singles in the group, Jason (Adam Scott) & Julie (Westfeldt), who have been the best of friends since their college years, observe the effect that kids have had on their friends’ relationships and wonder if there’s a better way than going through the pain and suffering marriage thrusts on young couples with kids. They come up with a crazy scheme, a plan that their closest friends seem to frown upon, have a kid together…and date other people. The unconventional ‘experiment’ leads everyone in the group to question the nature of friendship, family and, finally, true love.

Westfeldt returns to her “Kissing Jessica Stein” roots, with flawless dialogue and well-conceived scenes. The relationship between her Julie and Adam Scott’s Jason is almost constructed in the similar styling’s of a Woody Allen movie. I love these moments of pure randomness, for instance, the opening of the film shows both Jason & Julie, living in the same apartment building, three stories apart, on the phone together at three in the morning having a conversation about which is the better way to die out of two choice, all while the two friends have a lover in bed with them already asleep. From the shot set-up, to the words performed by the actors, it’s those kinds of sequences that make a romantic comedy worth watching…

However, be that as it may the movie becomes predictable and too formulaic by the final ACT of the film. [SPOILER ALERT] You know they’re gonna end up together, you know he’s gonna turn his car around and go back to her and fight for her. I wish there was some kind of magical way, where movies like this dare to not fall into the same old trap. At this years Sundance Film Festival, which I was lucky enough to attend, I saw a romantic comedy called “Celeste & Jesse Forever”, which is a film that has similar themes to this film, however, without spoiling anything “Celeste” ends in the complete opposite way you’d think a movie like it would do so. We need more “Celeste & Jesse Forever” and “(500) Days of Summer” kind of endings.

I’ll still recommend this film though as a date night movie for couples out there, ones who have kids and those who don’t I think will take ‘something’ away from this film, and will begin to reflect on their own life, good or bad. It’s not a movie that will scare couples away from having kids, but it will certainly make them think about the choices they’re making or about to make.

GRADE: B-

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