Actress-writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt’s romantic comedy “Friends with Kids” opens March 9 via Roadside Attractions, which acquired the film out of the Toronto Film Festival.
A sharply observed comedy with moments of hilarity and heartfelt insight, “Friends with Kids” manages to rise above many romantic-comedy cliches, yet fails to avoid others in its final act. Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”) stars as Westfeldt’s long-time best single chum; despite their platonic relationship, they decide to have a child together — each will be totally committed to raising their kid 50% of the time — but without the romantic entanglement they’ve witnessed wreak havoc on their couple friends’ lives.
The film, Westfeldt’s first as director and third as writer-actress-producer, marks the debut of her and long-time partner Jon Hamm’s new production company, Point West Pictures. “Mad Men” star Hamm has played small roles in all three of her films — “Kissing Jessica Stein,” “Ira & Abby” and now “Friends with Kids.” The pair flew to Cannes to promote “Kids,” where we sat down with them before the film’s Toronto premiere; the video interview is below (along with the trailer and a clip).
Westfeldt first approached Jake Kasdan to direct, but he and many others told her that this project was so personal that she should take the helm. And so she did. The film was shot in Manhattan over four six-day weeks during Hamm’s “Mad Men” hiatus (which lasted longer than expected as show creator Matt Weiner wrangled with AMC over contract negotiations).
Finally, Westfeldt is a better filmmaker than she is a movie star; the film would have been better served with Westfeldt in a supporting role, and the underutilized Kristen Wiig in the lead. The upside of Wiig’s casting (as Hamm’s wife) is that we get a glimpse into what it would look like if their “Bridesmaids”‘s characters Annie and Ted got married and had kids (it gets ugly). The strong ensemble also includes “Bridesmaids” co-stars Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, as well as Edward Burns and Megan Fox. It’s Scott who emerges as the film’s rising star.
Here’s more reviews out of Toronto.