Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friends With Kids (2011)

I hated the sh!t out of the end of this movie and I really wasn't crazy about the beginning of it either. After its forced and overblown satirization of the setup of our introduction into these people's lives, the movie gets really good. It's fun and sweet, it has the snappy, rapid fire dialogue of a 30's screwball comedy, so much of it is so true and startlingly original for a romantic comedy. And then it all falls apart in the end. 

There is a scene where Jon Hamm's character has a long, slightly drunken and extremely angry rant about what happens to all good relationships after the passage of time. Some of the couples present are upset because they know he's right. Others are upset because they are the exception to the rule. John Hamm's rant explains quite eloquently what happens to every Hollywood romantic comedy and how an experienced movie-goer with a brain feels about it. What writer/director/star Jennifer Westfeldt probably didn't intend was for one of her characters to plead a case as to why you should not like this movie. After John Hamm stops talking the film comes unraveled and the defense rests. 

The movie is pretty much about exactly what the title suggests. It's a pretty bad title and it's lazy. It's like the whole concept came from the cast of Friends settling down and having kids. But it went from NBC to the edgier HBO. But somehow this got through all of the necessary channels and made it to the big screen with a wide release. I'm guessing solely on the fact that it stars four of the cast members from the infinitely better and much more successful Bridesmaids (2011). Of these four, Jon Hamm and Maya Rudolph give the best performances. The brilliant Kristen Wiig and the extremely funny Chris O'Dowd are wasted. Wiig's performance is fine, but her character is unlikeable. O'Dowd has a similar issue. He's slightly more likable, but the Irish actor speaks with what I think is supposed to be an american accent. He sounds like Bill or Ted from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. He has some great lines and some nice moments in the film. but his voice is really distracting. 

So about that plot- Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) have been friends for ages. They are in their thirties and all of their friends are having kids. They decide one night that they should have a baby together. It's mutually agreed that this would be a great idea. But much to their friends dismay, they are not entering into a relationship. They are just agreeing to co-parent a child. This goes from working out perfectly to becoming a disaster. They each try to balance a personal life with the responsibilities of being a parent. This is actually the believable part of the film. While all of their friends seem to struggle with their sanity after having children, these two seem to have been born to do this. It's funny and heartwarming to watch this. 

But as I said before, the film falls into the clich├ęs of typical romantic comedies and insists on a neat and tidy happy ending that unfortunately comes in the form of a punchline that wasn't even funny. It made me feel like a sucker for falling for this film and really believing that it was going to go somewhere different. It does not. Don't waste your time with it. 

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