Movie Review - Friends with Kids
All I could think about while watching the utterly delightful Friends with Kids was: "welp, now I guess we know why Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm still aren't married." Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein) is the writer, director, producer and star of the film (watch the trailer below) which features a fairly harsh melancholic view of marriage. Co-star and partner of 14 years Jon Hamm must have read the script and thought "YOWZA."
Now, the film doesn't condemn marriage, but it does critique it. The premise of the film is this. Jason (Adam Scott, giving the best performance both of the film and his career thus far) and Julie (Westfeldt) are chronically single best friends forever. When their friends start marrying and having children of their own, they discuss how they both want children but no spouse, so they decide to embark on parenthood together and split the custody.
They think this is a great idea because one couple they are best friends with (Hamm and Kristen Wiig) grow to loathe each other and drink to excess after they are married while their other best friends (Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd) just do not have the romance they had before children. The friends, meanwhile, think the idea is absurd and start judging their perennially single friends.
Once the friendship baby comes, Julie begins to date Kurt (Edward Burns) and Jason begins to date Mary Jane (Megan Fox), both their first major relationship in years. As the viewer expects, jealously and resentment starts to build between the new parents and thus the comedy ensues. This tension comes as their couple friends' judgment peaks and there is a wonderfully explosive dinner scene that best shows off Westfeldt's writing and direction; the tone easily shifts from comedy to drama and back again, while highlighting her fantastic dialogue.
The film is quite funny, if a little conventional. It starts with pretty defined lines of marriage = bad, friends with child = good, but the lines blur as the film progresses. Although it does have an all-too-tidy ending, the film is overall so clever and poignant that it does not matter. All that matters is the smile on your face as you leave the theater.
Check your local listings to see if it's playing in a theater near you; we all need to support all female directors, especially when the film is as good as this.