Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friends With Kids (2011) ***

Having kids changes your life.  This well-known fact is fertile ground for comedy, and well-trodden.  “Friends With Kids” doesn’t manage to cover any new ground but it combines “She’s Having a Baby” with “Friends With Benefits” pretty successfully.
Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) are truly Platonic, best friends, both still single.  As they watch their circle of friends having kids, they worry that when they do manage to find a good mate, everything will be ruined by having children.  Yet, they both want to have a child someday, so what are a couple of hip New Yorkers to do?  They decide to have a kid together and raise it within their Platonic relationship, leaving them each free to pursue true love and romance free of that pressure.
“Friends With Kids” indulges in some of the standard punch-lines of this genre, but the movie manages to work due to the strength of the cast.  Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, and Ed Burns are all as good as you would hope.  Meanwhile, Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt portray their friendship with genuine humanity and sweetness.  I fell for Jenifer Westfeldt in “Kissing Jessica Stein.  She plays pretty much the same character here, and it’s a charming performance.
My only complaint about the film is that it is about thirty minutes too long, and that half-hour almost looks like it is from a different film.  Somewhere towards the end of the movie, the camera work starts to look worse, the musical score gets cheesy, and the story seems to lose track of itself.  It’s as if they either ran out of money or just couldn’t decide how to wind things up.  I suppose this is inexperience showing, as “Friends With Kids” is Jennifer Westfeldt’s directorial debut.  I still recommend the movie, just with moderated expectations.

3 stars.

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