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Friends With Kids—movie review

Friends With Kids—movie review

I became an instant fan of Jennifer Westfeldt after seeing the film she co-wrote and starred in, Kissing Jessica Stein, just over a decade ago. For her debut feature as director, writer, and star, she has assembled a powerhouse cast, and devised a comedy (with dramatic undertones) that manages to be on the cutting edge without sacrificing the qualities people look for in romantic movies.

Westfeldt and Adam Scott (of TV’s Parks and Recreation) play best friends who live in the same Manhattan apartment building and share their most intimate thoughts with each other. They also share an upscale lifestyle with two other couples, played by Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm and Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, making this something of a Bridesmaids cast reunion. When one of the couples announces that they’re about to have a baby, Westfeldt and Scott are appalled, at first, to lose their friends to such a conventional way of life, then resign themselves to the inevitable. With her biological clock ticking loudly, the two pals decide to make a baby together and share the responsibility for its parenting, even though they aren’t sexually attracted to one another. This being a romantic comedy—albeit an indie version and not a Hollywood studio concoction—you know full well that their plan is bound to go awry.

The film makes sharp observations about married life, the responsibility of raising children, the pressure of dating, and more. The candid sexual conversations define this as a film made by, and for, adults…but who says grownups don’t want romantic fulfillment in movies? That’s where writer-director Westfeldt becomes surprisingly traditional.

Every member of the cast gets a chance to shine, including Westfeldt’s real-life partner Hamm, as well as Edward Burns and even Megan Fox. But it’s Westfeldt and the very likable Scott who anchor the film and make it worthwhile. The romantic comedy genre isn’t dead; it just needs people with fresh ideas like this to keep it healthy.

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