Review: Friends With Kids

Friends With Kids (R) - Runtime: 107 minutes
Starring: Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig
Director: Jennifer Westfeldt

This was one of the few genuine surprises this year for me! I heard a lot of great things about this movie, but I wasn't anticipating to fall in love with this movie! Despite the somewhat hipster-vibe coming from the title and internet, I was hoping that this would be a funny and wonderful romantic comedy and Westfeldt's script was every bit as refreshing and honest and hilarious as I hoped it would be. It doesn't hurt that a few of my favorite actors are in it (no, I'm not talking about Megan Fox).

The movie centers around Jason and Julie, who are two really close friends with a unique relationship. They act a lot like a couple, but are not attracted to each other. And in typical romantic comedy fashion - they're biological clocks are ticking but they haven't found "the one." So instead of waiting to have kids with the right person, they both decide to have a kid together without all the mess of an actual relationship. We see first hand what having a baby can do to a couple with Jason and Julie's two couple friends. It turns out that things significantly change (for better or worse - mostly worse) when a kid is brought into the equation. Of course, Jason and Julie end up having a kid and everything's going according to plan when they find their respective soul mates. But obviously nothing is perfect and slowly their perfect plan starts to unravel as they begin to lose control of their relationships as well as their friendship.

Where to begin? First of all - the writing is fantastic. You're not going to get a more upbeat, fantastically-written movie this year, hands down. Westfeldt knows how to make these characters pop - they feel honest but they're not dull. Jason is an arrogant, uptight jerk constantly throughout the movie, but there's enough sweetness in him that you cannot help but swoon for him a bit. Julie plays somewhat like most other female leads in this genre - a bit needy and constantly in need of reassurance. And although the movie follows most romantic comedy cliches, it's done with such whimsy and delight. Not only is the dialogue smart, it's absolutely hysterical. I laughed hard during this movie - no subject is taboo for this movie and if you find yourself sitting down to watch this with your parents or parent-like figures, just get up and walk away. It's too awkward and you won't be able to look them in the eye for a day or two and conversations will only revolve around the weather and food.

I think the real meat of the movie comes from certain scenes that are more dramatic than funny. The dinner conversation on the ski trip was the tipping point for the movie. The plot advancing hinged on what transpires during this scene. The movie perfectly balances the extreme of heated arguments and revelations with funny jokes and the absurd awkwardness of these very public fights. As much as the film owes to the script, the performances are amazing - Scott and Westfeldt both are amazing - they have a good chemistry together and they both have great comedic timing and delivery. The supporting cast (even Megan Fox, surprisingly!) is good - Chris O'Dowd is another actor I'm quickly growing fond of. The only flaw is that Kristen Wiig has only a few lines of dialogue in this movie and they're all not jokes. But with a cast this large, some characters can only have so much screen time, it's just too bad Wiig and Hamm draw the short stick on this film.

This is honestly one of my top five movies this year - I had a lot of fun watching this movie and now that I'm writing about it - I would love to watch it again very soon. Everything about this movie is nearly flawless. You really can't get any better than this when it comes to character-driven comedies.

Rating: Rent It!

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