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Film Studies 101
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Adam Scott
Maya Rudolph
Ed Burns
Kirsten Wiig
Jon Hamm
Chris O'Dowd
Megan Fox.
Directors
Jennifer Westfeldt.
Screenwriters
Jennifer Westfeldt.
Running Time
107 minutes

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Friends With Kids
Bridesmaids revisited


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Plot
Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason (Scott) are the singletons among six friends. When their coupled-up mates start reproducing, they decide to have a child, but keep things platonic. Alas, things don’t quite go to plan once they start dating again.


Review
Friends With Kids
Except to those who have googled “Jon Hamm’s girlfriend” in a fit of jealous cyber-stalkery, Jennifer Westfeldt is probably best known as the writer and star of Kissing Jessica Stein. That was a smart, strangely likable rom-com about a straight woman so despairing of the New York scene that she starts dating another woman. Now she’s the director, writer and star of a still-strange but less likable rom-com about two friends so despairing of the New York scene, they decide to have a baby together platonically.

The BFFs are Westfeldt’s exacting Julie and Adam Scott’s commitment-shy Jason, an odd couple so attuned that they call in the small hours despite both having dates slumbering beside them. They’re part of a Friends-like group: Missy (Kirsten Wiig) and Ben (Jon Hamm) can’t keep their hands off one another, while Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O’Dowd) are the complacent, settled pair. While they struggle with the arrival of children, Julie and Jason’s bundle of joy causes minimal disruption in their dual household.

The scale of that contrast is over-egged, with the slight implication that couples experiencing difficulties in early parenthood just aren’t trying hard enough. While Julie and Jason slide smoothly into their routine, Missy and Ben snipe bitterly, and Leslie and Alex give their children a lesson in throwing tantrums. The platonic offspring is no sooner weaned than he’s brushed aside to consider what happens when his parents start dating again, with predictable complications.

Westfeldt’s wit and her cast’s comic facility ensure plenty of smart, sarky lines, but any film about upper-middle New Yorkers needs to work harder to stand out. If you’re travelling between Manhattan apartments and skiing lodges, the emotional issues should be that much more complex and better explored to keep our sympathies, or it’s just a stream of first-world problems.


Verdict
It benefits from a supernaturally engaging cast, but this treads too closely to the rom-com model to feel as smart or moving as Westfeldt’s previous best.


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Friends With Kids
Empire Star Rating

Lost interest

I'm in the middle of watching Friends with Kids right now. This is not a good sign. Clearly this film is not engaging enough to hold my interest. I might not even bother watching it to the end, which is unusual for me. Other than Chris O'Dowd, the characters are annoying, or vile, or both. The kid that the leads so desperately wanted barely even figures and Jennifer Westfeldt is desperate to come off as kooky but ends up irritating. I think I smiled once and properly laughed once, both of which ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jenniea at 15:02, 21 March 2013 | Report This Post


Bridesmaids with the laughs

The review touches upon the very good point that these people's lives are pretty decent. Huge apartments and screwing Megan Fox. Jeez, what a nightmare. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 18:16, 01 July 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Friends With Kids

It was watcahble, I s'pose.... That's pretty much the most complimentary thing I can say about it. some of the guys/gals above, I was mentally tricked into watching this thanks to that great cast. Seeing those funny/talented buggers plastered all over the posters worked like a charm dammit. It's just a shame that that great cast got lumbered with one fantastically dull script. First, if you're thinking of seeing this for the laughs, then don't, as there aren't any. I mean that quite literall... More

Posted by captainrentboy at 18:34, 30 June 2012 | Report This Post


Light on the funny, heavy on the predictable.

Better than Friends With Benefits, but that ain’t saying much. I was drawn to this movie like a firefly to a star-filled strip-light. Mad Men just doesn’t give me enough Jon Hamm, and so it’s always a treat to get to see him in a modern day movie (and with very anti-Don stubble). That it was created by his longterm girlfriend, was also a big draw. Throw in some Bridesmaids cast reuniting, what’s not to love? Well. Quite a bit. It’s, eek, a little dull. It̵... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by thebackseatdirector at 14:17, 30 June 2012 | Report This Post


Annoying Friends who will give you a headache

Maybe we were expecting something like Bridesmaids with the cast being similar, but this is something totally different. Different in a bad way, not funny or charming at all, with very annoying and unbelievable main characters (the big names that are pictured in the review barely feature). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by andee90 at 14:48, 26 June 2012 | Report This Post


Chris O'Dowd

Fast becoming typecast as the quirky secondary character Simon Pegg said no to. It's a living, I suppose. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by loafroaster at 13:29, 26 June 2012 | Report This Post



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