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I hate when comedies try to be "real". For some reason a writer will
feel that they know the secret to human beings that will totally
connect with audiences and make them say, "Finally, someone gets it."
Of course this never works and it always comes off as artificial and
forced from the actors. Thankfully this doesn't happen so much here
with Jennifer Westfeldt's directorial debut (she also wrote it). There
are a few moments where this can slightly creep in, but for the most
part it actually tackles things in a refreshing, honest way and I was
surprised by that.
Of course the premise (two thirtysomething best friends decide to stop waiting and have a kid together) is straight from the rom-com horsecrap handbook, but there are some turns along the way that I thought were surprisingly dark and genuine for something with such a cheap, hokey idea. There are some scenes that key into the stupidity of it all and I was impressed with how Westfeldt's script delved into that. Then again the film does end up being a pretty standard rom-com at the end of it all, so it kind of takes a jab at itself in the end.
Westfeldt assembled a nice group of her actor friends to play out the parts, but unfortunately she didn't have the smarts to cast someone other than herself in the lead. Her co-lead Adam Scott and the supporting cast are all fantastic here, in particular Jon Hamm who steals the entire movie as far as I'm concerned, but the director herself is a very cold and robotic actor. It was hard to feel anything for her or her dynamic with Scott when I couldn't even buy her as a real person. Overall though, this is a solid film of it's type with slightly better writing, a great cast for the most part and unfortunately one god awful ending.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Funny moments are sparse, while opportunities for the
director/screenwriter to remind you that the leads are better liberals
than you (regardless of your political persuasion) are bountiful (and
exist for no apparent reason).
All in all, the plot was boring, the ending predictable and the supporting actors used (Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig) had their talents wasted on a trivial plot that barely manages to make anyone laugh or care.
The only real spoiler for this movie is that it's neither funny nor good.
Pickings are slim for grown-up movies and that's what this is. So
bought my ticket and was not disappointed. It's a movie for grown-ups,
sharp and funny. The thing is, there's barely a whisper of romance or
spark of chemistry in the whole set-up. Much focus is on women's
bodies, their breasts, their pelvic muscles, their kegel exercises.
This kind of frankness is extended to the marital experience of the
shared bathroom, frustration of shared chores, mom's post-pregnancy
body and baby poo. Funny? Actually, yes. Light or romantic, not for a
The story didn't head in the direction I expected, given the title. It's not a sly comedy or satire of parenthood or how the experience changes a person or a couple. It's more like a story of Friends with Benefits. But the cast is great and it's not formulaic. On the whole, worthwhile. A number of scenes are quite good.
Friends With Kids is marriage life as imagined by the Hollywood
Elite. After seeing this film, if one didn't live in the real world,
one might think that marriage is an awful state to be in, kids are
nothing more than annoying pets, crude talk is completely commonplace,
and that love is the same as sex.
It feels that this movie was written by someone who was never married...and, it turns out, it was! Hollywood has become so distanced from the real world of middle class people that they think their world is mainstream. The average family loves their kids, cannot afford nannies, believes in the commitment of marriage, and understands that real love between two people is not just an expression that can be only conveyed in the act of sex.
Adam Scott as the lead actor only has a few expressions which he uses over and over again. Jennifer Westfeldt, as the annoying lead female, is far too in love with herself...she wrote the movie, directed the movie, and gives herself the majority of screen time
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*WARNING!! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS* I just couldn't buy into this film at
all. I really wanted to enjoy it because I like Adam Scott and I'm one
of Chris O'Dowd's biggest fans. However, the script is weak and it all
ends rather suddenly. I knew where it was going after about 20 minutes
and I wasn't wrong.
Despite liking Adam Scott as an actor, I really didn't like his character. There was something about him which made me want to punch him in the face. Jennifer Westfeldt is average in it and I had no urge at any point to punch her. The comedic talents of Chris O'Dowd are wasted which is a shame because he could have brought a lot more to the film. The same goes for Kristen Wiig; we never get to see her at her hilarious best. Megan Fox is beautiful as ever but rather irritating.
The plot is thin and just lacked realism. It was also far too predictable and I spent most of the time guessing (usually correctly) what was about to happen.
All in all, this film is poor but it could have been so much better if the actors had been put to better use.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Friends With Kids" starts off as a wonderfully entertaining, very
funny and truly smart film about two close friends who do the
unconventional and decide to have a baby together...as friends.
Unfortunately what starts off as a great, strong, original comedy soon
downward spirals into the unfortunate abyss of RomCom hell.
What sparks this decision? The fact that they watched their four closest friends, two couples, go through relationship hell due to the onset of...children. The couple who used to have sex in bathrooms hardly talk to each other and the happy-go-lucky couple do nothing but bicker.
So Julie and Jason figure they might as well have a kid together, skipping the affect this has on a relationship, as they can simply continue to date others. In other words, they skipped marriage and went right to the divorce.
Jennifer Westfeldt plays Julie but also wrote and directed this film. You might recognize her from the fantastic-but-short-lived comedy "Notes from the Underbelly" or the eighth season of "24," but she also wrote the excellent film "Kissing Jessica Stein," this film somewhat proving that "Stein" was not a fluke.
Westfeldt could be a comedic force to be reckoned with. If she avoids any further Hollywood trappings.
FWK, as mentioned, does start off in an excellent fashion. An honest, funny, harsh, crude look at child rearing for Gen Y. And even though it has been getting some criticisms for making it look like children will ruin any relationship, that is not the point Westfeldt was trying to make in some sort of blanket statement. She was looking at just a specific group of friends, and what a great bunch they are! "Parks and Recreation" star Adam Scott takes the lead as Jason, Julie's platonic baby daddy. SNL-alum and "Bridesmaids" star Maya Rudolph is the highly stressed and easily irritated Leslie while "Bridesmaids"'s Chris O'Dowd plays her slacker husband. As for the other couple, it is just unfortunate they didn't get more screen time, both having been slightly under-utilized: the magnificent Kirsten Wiig (SNL) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) as the once-over-sexed-and-now-over-drinking couple who are unravelling, both also having starred in that little film called...."Bridesmaids." Jon Hamm also has the distinction of being Jennifer Westfeldt's husband....in real life.
Sadly, what starts off as a hilarious and irreverent comedy about love, marriage and babies, culminating in a wonderfully executed stand-off between friends at a cabin in Vermont, suddenly takes an all-too familiar and completely unnecessary clichéd Hollywood turn as (SPOLIER ALERT!) what was once platonic suddenly changes to something not so platonic, completely ruining the wonderful flow of an otherwise excellent comedy.
If Westfeldt had only kept friends as friends, this may have been a far more memorable and original film, but she inexplicably decided to make one wrong turn, leaving this film with an ending equal to that of a huge stack of useless RomComs. An utterly disappointing predictable end to a film that was, up until the last fifteen minutes, a truly great comedy of higher-than-usual standard.
Okay,I wasn't going to say anything but I was so baffled by the other
reviews I feel compelled.
This film isn't, just in case you were wondering,' untouched genius'. It's simply , okay. It's like watching people who are quite nice going through a storyline which is slightly familiar. No alarms and no surprises.
I don't wish to add spoilers but one crucial scene which for me explains all the films weaknesses is this; Jennifer Westfeldt looks at herself in the mirror wearing a pair of heels, she decides she doesn't like them , so takes them off and puts on a pair of boots which zip up the side. She sits down on a bed and puts them on, one at a time, then once again she looks at herself in the mirror. This time she is happy with her choice. This is shot in real time, and if memory serves correctly without an edit. Takes about 45 secs. When you write , direct and star [ especially when you haven't been in a movie for a while] ,screen time must be very exciting but filming yourself looking at yourself , pretty explains the whole movie for me.
There's a good reason Kristen Wigg features on the poster, Bridesmaids made millions, she's funny and has got game.
But imagine being in the marketing meeting where you had to explain to Jennifer why her face wouldn't be appearing in any of the advertisements for the film she wrote, directed and starred in. Ouch, that must have been a tough day for her.
In 2011, we were faced with two films asking whether or not it was
possible for two people to casually have sex and unintentionally fall
in love with one another. In 2012, we are presented with, from what I
can see, one film that asks a more debatable and better question; is it
possible for two people that are vaguely attracted to one another to
have a baby, and while raising it, make efforts to meet and see other
people? I'll be completely honest and say I could not and would not
ever want to do this, although the idea, when put on the table,
immediately sparked my interest. Not only does the idea of having kids
disinterest me completely at this point in time, but I find that plan
sort of selfish and unfair on both the parents and the child. If the
parents seek out relationships with other people, the inevitability of
it all will be that one or both of the parents will become so caught up
in the new relationship that they will dump the baby on the other
person. And unfair for the child, because every baby deserves a
prominent mom and dad figure in their life.
Friends With Kids asks this question, using two couples and two very close friends as the subjects. The two friends are Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt, who serves as the writer, one of the six producers, and director), who have been the kind of people who are truly meant for each other, but neither one will wake up and realize it. Their friends are the collective Alex and Leslie (Chris O'Dowd and Maya Rudolph) and the intimate sex-hounds Ben and Missy (Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig, all four are Bridesmaids alumni). The film opens with them childless, happy, and even more ecstatic once Leslie announces that she will be having a baby at dinner at a luxurious New York restaurant.
Four years later, the two couples have children and their marriages lack the intimacy and cheeriness they once bubbled with. The only two that still seem remotely happy are Jason and Julie, who both remain single and childless. After a disastrous party for Jason, the two talk over the idea of having children, something Julie has wanted for a while seeing as she is older than Jason. Jason and Julie figure that if they have a baby together and then proceed to move forward by dating other people, yet still taking care of the kid, their relationship as friends will not suffer.
They decide to do this on a whim and out of convenience, and nine months later, they have a child. Now here comes the inevitable part; they must support it yet are trying to seek out new people to date as well. Jason falls lust at first sight when he meets the offbeat and attractive Megan Fox's Mary Jane, and Julie can't seem to take her eyes off the rather cliché everyman, Kurt (Edward Burns).
Their friends are concerned for their behavior, mainly because they believe the having-a-child-without-plans-to-marry setup was an impulsive and foolish decision on their part. One area Friends With Kids absolutely wins at is its ability to have believable, real-life conversations that are projected through a mature, human scope. One of the most heartbreaking scenes involves Jason, a rather self-absorbed, egotistical character, confessing to Julie why they could never be together. This scene doesn't pull any punches. It genuinely makes its audience wince. No sight gags or one-liners involved.
Another perfect scene involved Jon Hamm's Ben lecturing Jason on why having a kid was a stupid idea on his part, and how the kid may grow up to be confused and troubled by not having two firm parental figures in his life. These are the scenes that create great humanity and drama between the characters, in an non-contrived, believable manner.
Friends With Kids feels like an exercise in Woody Allen-esque filmmaking, right down to the intellectual characters and the subtle character the state of New York plays. It's charming, often quite poignant, and perhaps offers some keen insights about the idea of raising children that is often forgone in many modern romantic comedies. It's endearing and reassuring to see a picture so true to its "romantic comedy" title.
Starring: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, and Jon Hamm. Directed by: Jennifer Westfeldt.
There isn't a plot really, the story is really predictable, even though
it's different. But in fact, I did not really lose interest and rather
felt my time passed by pretty well. The supporting stuff have given
some wonderful performances, Edward Burns as the perfect
man/potential-husband, and Megan Fox as the perfect girlfriend. But the
lead pair could have done better.
One thing that is horrible about the movie is the ending. One of the most horrible endings there could have been, the director tries to be unconventional but fails miserably. MISERABLY. If only the scene went differently I would actually be recommending this movie to those tired of old stuff.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's so sad to see a movie demote women in such a profound way. The writer of the story, who also plays the main character, lets the man she has a child with, who she apparently loves, walk all over her. No healthy human being would subject themselves to the cavalier, cold, and disdainful relationship portrayed in this movie. Wow. I've rarely felt more dismayed by a "romantic comedy" -- 1950s here we come. Let's go ahead and discourage any semblance of the positive aspects of a loving relationship, and while we're at it, disregard the power and strength that a commitment brings. Come on Hollywood comedy writers -- can't you make us laugh without being ashamed? Life is very humorous in so many ways. Make an effort.
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