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DVD Review: Friends with Kids

July 17, 2012

Friends with Kids – A VVS Films’ Release

http://www.friendswithkids.com/#

DVD Release Date: July 17th, 2012

Rated 14A for coarse language and sexual content

Running time: 107 minutes

Jennifer Westfeldt (dir.)

Jennifer Westfeldt (writer)

Marcelo Zarvos (music)

Adam Scott as Jason Fryman

Jennifer Westfeldt as Julie Keller

Maya Rudolph as Leslie

Chris O’Dowd as Alex

Our reviews below:

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Friends with Kids DVD Review By John C.

** (out of 4)

Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt) are close platonic friends who decide to have a child together and split the parenting duties down the middle, without actually getting involved in a relationship.  It’s unclear why they decide to have a kid, other than to keep up with their married friends Alex (Chris O’Dowd) and Leslie (Maya Rudolph) who are more than happy with their own children, and prove something to Ben (Jon Hamm) and Missy (Kristen Wiig) whose marriage is in trouble.  Jason and Julie are both determined to stay uncommitted to each other, but predictable screenwriting ultimately gets in the way of their plans for solo parenting.

As hard as Friends with Kids tries to be fresh and relevant, it’s surprisingly predictable and actually kind of boring.  The selfish decisions of the characters make it very hard to care about any of them, which means that the supposedly sentimental final few scenes just feel awkward.  There are a few amusing moments before the characters actually go through with their idiotic plan, but Friends with Kids ultimately proves that a shallow and stupid premise can only be entertaining for a little while, before it just becomes shallow and stupid.

The Blu-ray includes a commentary track, “making of” featurette and deleted scenes.

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Friends with Kids DVD Review By Erin V.  

** (out of 4)

Friends With Kids is a film about two best friends who after seeing all of their best friends starting families, decide that they want a kid too, but not all of the relationship issues of starting a family with someone else.  So they come up with the “brilliant” idea to ‘get together’ once and make a kid, and then raise it part time (one week on, one week off).  Cynically, they believe that since most marriages end in divorce anyway, they may as well just bypass all that and not even be together in the first place.

The whole film has a cynical tone from opening shot to closing lines.  Everyone is a stereotype or an extreme – at least most of the time.  I didn’t find anyone was particularly likeable or relatable either.  Overall, there may be some who will really take to this film, but I didn’t.  It also felt a little long at close to two hours, and not particularly engaging.  Still, if your interested or curious it’s worth a rental.

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Friends with Kids DVD Review By Nicole

** (out of 4)

Friends With Kids follows a premise that is so selfish, it makes the movie unbelievable.  When shallow friends Julie (Jennifer Westfield) and Jason (Adam Scott) notice their friends all have children, they decide to sleep together (saves on fertility clinic costs) and have a child.  However, they want to avoid any sort of commitment, (why did they have a child in the first place?), so they decide to raise the child separately on alternate weeks.  Of course, their reasonable married friends have the good sense to point out this parenting arrangement is ridiculous, and doesn’t take the child’s emotional needs into account.

While I liked the couples from the Bridesmaids cast, particularly Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, I could not sympathize with the titular non-couple.  From the opening shot, we can tell what Jason’s view on life is.  There is very little character development between Jason and Julie, and their last line of dialogue in the film is laughably bad.  Only in this increasingly secular and selfish world could such a comedy be made.

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Friends with Kids DVD Review By Maureen

** (out of 4)

Friends With Kids takes the premise of doing anything for your best friend to a whole new level.  Happily single besties Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westefeldt) decide to give one another the gift of a child, one that they can share 50/50 without the complication of cohabiting with each other.

After all, their married friends, Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O’Dowd) and Missy (Kristen Wiig) and Ben (Jon Hamm) have gotten boring and not as much fun to be around since they decided to have kids.  Figuring that kids change relationships for the worse, Jason and Julie decide their unique parenting arrangement will work out better for them.  As the old saying goes, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

With such a talented cast I was expecting a lot more chemistry and energy between the characters.  The truth is, I found the leads in particular to be too shallow and not that believable as co-parents.  While some of the dialogue was sharp much of it felt annoying.  While the premise of Friends With Kids didn’t appeal to me, fans of the talented cast may find some entertainment value in this shallow and often cynical rom-com.

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Friends with Kids DVD Review By Tony

** (out of 4)

Friends With Kids is a shallow romantic comedy about two best friends in their late 30s, Jason and Julie (Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt) who, while each seeking true love elsewhere, have a baby together without the commitment of marriage. They hope to avoid the challenges of their friends, Alex and Leslie (Chris O’Dowd and Maya Rudolph) and Ben and Missy (Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig). Both married couples are coping with two small kids, the former somewhat better than the latter.

After the baby Troy is born, Jason is in a relationship with Mary Jane (Megan Fox), a dancer adept at mating but with no interest in the consequences. Meanwhile, Julie is involved with Kurt (Edward Burns), a very decent recently divorced family man. Joint custody and long-term shared interests, such as a game of choice between pairs of terrible death scenarios, keep Jason and Julie from drifting apart completely. The final outcome is somewhat predictable, once the novelty of their new lovers wears off.

With a good ensemble cast, Friends With Kids is watchable enough, but I had trouble with the cynicism and shallowness of its premise and main characters. Moreover, the script by writer and first-time director Westfeldt had far too much locker room vulgarity for my taste, without the mitigating wit of a good Judd Apatow film.

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Consensus: Although Friends with Kids boasts a talented ensemble cast led by writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt, the cynical screenplay is surprisingly predictable and the characters are shallow to the point of being unlikeable.  ** (Out of 4)

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