Monday, 2 July 2012

Friends with Kids

Six New York thirty-somethings see their lives change over the course of several years as children come into their lives. Alex and Leslie (Chris O’Dowd and Maya Rudolph) are a married couple with two children, struggling to keep their heads above water. Ben and Missy (Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig) are a sexually charged couple who find things difficult once a baby arrives while Jason and Julie (Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt) are best friends who know each other inside out. Fearing that they are getting old and seeing how difficult managing a marriage and child can be, they decide to have a child as friends with no emotional attachment. Both are free to carry on with their separate love lives after the child’s birth and agree to joint custody of the baby.

There have been comparisons to last years smash hit Bridesmaids but that is purely down to casting. This is a completely different film. While Wiig, O’Dowd, Rudolph and Hamm all starred in Wiig’s massively successful comedy, Friends with Kids reminded me more of a Woody Allen film, only without the wit or humour.

It’s sometimes difficult to feel sorry for the characters and their problems as they are mostly successful, well off people, living in one of the greatest cities in the world. Their problems tend to be that their children are loud or that they don’t have time for romance anymore but that is something that most couples will experience. I never once felt sorry for any character and didn’t particularly like four of them, including the two leads. Adam Scott’s Jason is an ad man obsessed with large boobs, living in a huge penthouse apartment. Although he is close to Julie and cares a lot for her, he seems like a bit of a dick. As for Julie, she seems nice enough and quite fun but gets herself into a stupid situation for silly reasons. Jon Hamm’s Ben and Kristen Wiig’s Missy don’t appear particularly likeable either but I would have liked to have seen more of their relationship. It was brushed over quite quickly. The characters and couple I did like were Alex and Leslie (O’Dowd and Rudolph). They felt the couple most grounded in reality and sadly reminded me of myself and my female lady partner.

The story progresses in quite a slow but predictable manner with some characters including Edward Burns' Kurt and Megan Fox’s Mary Jane coming and going at various intervals. Because you always know how the film will end when it does get there it isn’t much fun and I actually found myself rooting for an opposite ending. The actors all do a good job. There are no weak links but no real stand outs either. Everyone seems to be on a 6/10. Westfeldt’s direction is glossy and clean and feels assured for someone with limited experience behind the camera.

In the end though there is nothing here that hasn’t been seen before. Everyone knows that having children is hard and that it changes people’s relationships and for much of this film I was bored. There are some nice patches of dialogue at dinner parties and some interesting characters but they get swallowed up by a central story which is predictable and dull. If you fancy something similar then can I suggest the French film Little White Lies which is much funnier, sadder and more interesting than this. The fact that the IMDb has nothing under it's memorable quotes section sums the movie up quite nicely. It's foregettable. The poster is quite clever though.



  1. I think I liked this one alittle more than you as I thought the supporting couples were a standout for me - Hamm and Wiig were yes, unlikable, were like a really big train wreck that captivates your attention while O'Dowd and Rudolph was a sweet couple that I simultaneously chuckled at and rooted for. It was the main characters that I found forgettable, especially since their story was really predictable as you said.

    1. My girlfriend liked this a little more than me too. I think I just wanted it to be funnier or offer something different. Also I wish that the other couples were given more attention. Thanks for the comment!