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When half the cast of Bridesmaids reteams for the big screen, one might expect another hilarious romp of a film. With stars Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm, and Kristen Wiig, Friends With Kids might appear to be a comedy of epic proportions, but as soon as they trade their wedding garb for onesies, this group also reveals the hardships of raising kids and loveless marriages.
Friends With Kids revolves around a pair of best friends, Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) who are disenchanted by the people their friends turned into after having children. Jason and Julie decide have their cake and eat it too — to have a child but be able to find the loves of their lives, who certainly aren’t each other. Got it? Right. An interesting take on the conventional family, they embark on raising their son Joe while dating other people in search of “their people.”
Written and directed by Westfeldt, the film has an indie feel with jump cuts from scene to scene and a definite keep-away from traditional romantic comedy structure. Naturally, Westfeldt excels in a role written for her by her. She shows the true pains of a confused woman with a heart in three different places at times. Scott, on the other hand, may have just been confused all throughout filming. His interpretation of dialogue leaves much to be desired and his rather consistent shouting is …well…tired. Fortunately, a few glorifying monologues save him from grace and put the film in a human place.
The supporting cast has some highs and lows. Ed Burns and Megan Fox play Julie and Jason’s love interests, respectively. Burns is the hot, successful, intelligent divorcee — a role he was meant to play. Similarly, Fox plays a hot, successful, flexible Broadway dancer who, well, has some brain cells and attitude checks to discover. A stretch maybe? Not at all. Hamm and Wiig chime in occasionally as the (often less than believable) attractive power couple that can’t hide their disgust for one another even in front of their own son.
The true joy for viewers is the coupling of Rudolph and O’Dowd. Their charming, quirky ways are endearing and they show that true love might not fully exist in a marriage, but happiness does. Friends With Kids is predictable at best, but has moments that remind us why we want stable home lives and the best people to share them with.