Friends with Kids (2011)

Friends with Kids (2011)
 
 

Friends With Feelings

Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt in Friends with Kids (2011)

Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) are best friends; in fact they are so close they don't think anything about calling each other up in the middle of the night to discuss the people they currently have in their beds. They are so close that their married friends Ben (John Hamm) and Missy (Kristen Wiig) as well as Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex (Chris O'Dowd) always invite them to their get togethers as a couple. When Leslie and Alex declare they are having a child it causes them to think about their status and decide that rather than going down the marriage and divorce route they will have a baby together and share the responsibility in a totally modern, commitment free kind of way where they can date other people. But of course the question is can friends who are parents just be friends.

I guess 2011 was the year when Hollywood jumped on the no strings attached, friends with benefits idea and gave us romantic comedies about friends who do something normally associated with people in relationships and dealing with the complications. Now whilst we had movies which dealt with can friends sleep with each other on a casual basis "Friends with Kids" try to twist that can two people who obviously care about each other to have a child together can do so just as friends.

Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd in Friends with Kids (2011)

The thing is that "Friends with Kids" is ridiculously obvious as you would have to not have watched a single other romantic comedy not to know that of course the two friends who think they can raise a child commitment free will end up realising how they feel to each other. I suppose I should say spoiler alert before saying that but with out the obvious ending to all this it would have not have worked for a mainstream audience.

But there is something about "Friends with Kids" which irks me and that is the representation of being married with kids as a living hell. In the opening scene we see these three vibrant couples out for dinner and then 4 years later we see how Leslie and Alex argue all the time whilst Ben and Missy have the sex life sucked out of their marriage by being parents. Of course it needs to be extreme to set up Jason and Julie with their modern relationship as without it they would have no reasoning but it is extreme.

Now I have nothing against any of the actors in "Friends with Kids" other than to say 24 hours after I watched the movie I struggled to remember the actors or their characters. In many ways it needed actors who could deliver more edge, bigger laughs to make it come to life and be memorable.

What this all boils down to is that "Friends with Kids" is okay, it has an okay idea, it has okay performances but like most okay movies you struggle to remember it just 24 hours later.

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