Review: Friends With Kids

Friends with Kids
Friends with Kids starring Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt

Friends with Kids

3 stars

Starring Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Kristen Wiig and John Hamm

As an old friend once said “I don’t like romantic comedies, they’re usually never very romantic. Or comedic.” I’ve seen this maxim proven right more times than proven wrong. Friends With Kids doesn’t completely prove it wrong, but it does an admirable job, especially with the comedic part.

Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein) writes, stars in and makes her directorial debut with Friends With Kids, and with the help of her longtime significant other, Jon Hamm, she’s able to arrange a terrific cast of funny people to bring her cliché riddled script to life.

From the moment you meet the characters, you know exactly how the film is going to end. If you’ve seen any romantic comedies in the past 10 years, you can accurately predict the path this is going to take. You know who’s going to split up, who’s going to stay together, and, more importantly, how Jason and Julia’s (Scott and Westfeldt, respectively) relationship is going to turn out.

Fortunately for Westfeldt, the aforementioned terrific cast makes the journey to the inevitable end much more enjoyable. Scott ably handles leading man duties with a spark not usually seen in the genre. He doesn’t seemed resigned to being just OK, and really gives it his all. Westfeldt, on the other hand…. let’s just say no one’s ever going to accuse her of being a great actress. She’s not terrible, but she, unlike Scott, does seem resigned to being just OK.

Rudolph and O’Dowd are delightful as the level-headed married friends who really want to see the baby experiment between Jason & Julia work, while Hamm and Wiig are intense, despite being given too little to do.

I think had Westfeldt not split her focus between directing and acting, either one of those duties would have been better. Some actors can direct themselves in starring roles, Westfeldt just couldn’t. I have a feeling she may get to that point eventually, and this was an admirable job for her directorial debut, but maybe she tried to do too much.

The actors rise above the mediocre script, but overall the movie suffers from an overworked lead. I recommend if you’ve got nothing better to do and want to catch a matinée, but this is probably a rental at best.


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