‘Friends with Kids’ Review
Friends with Kids is probably the best comedy I’ve seen since Bridesmaids, with which it shares four of its co-stars. The real stars of Friends with Kids though are the two actors who were not in Bridesmaids. Jennifer Westfeldt (who also wrote and directed the film) and Adam Scott do all the heavy lifting in this smart, funny, honest comedy about two best friends who decide to try to beat the system and have a baby together while avoiding all the accompanying stress of marriage. In a cinema landscape full of movies about unorthodox relationships, “friends with benefits,” and other untraditional lifestyle choices, this movie stands out as the best of the bunch, in my opinion.
Julie and Jason (played by Jennifer Westfeldt and Adam Scott) are best friends who want to have kids but haven’t found their respective soul mates yet, so they decide to raise a child together, thinking that their strong friendship would be a much better basis for co-parenting than a messy marriage like their friends’ relationships, which all seem to suffer under the stress of raising a family. Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd (the Irish cop who wooed Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids) play one of said couples, who go from blissfully in love, to complaining about each others’ inadequacies after having kids. The other two Bridesmaids alumni, Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm, play the other pair of married friends, whose relationship goes south after years of built-up resentment. Hamm is great as the handsome douchebag, but a more nuanced douchebag than the one he played in Bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig shows off her more dramatic side, playing the least funny character for a change. That isn’t to say Wiig isn’t funny in this film, just that her character is more subdued than some of her more typical roles.
Adam Scott pretty much hits it out of the park with his first leading role in a movie. He runs the gamut from comedy to drama with apparent ease, mastering everything from the physical comedy inherent in child rearing, to moments of genuine emotion. His best scenes include a perfectly delivered speech defending his and Julie’s choice against a drunk and spiteful Jon Hamm, as well as a tearfully touching moment with his baby mama towards the end of the film. Holding his own in a cast full of hilarious actors, Scott proves that he’s more than capable of handling the responsibilities of being a leading man.
At first I wasn’t totally sold on the chemistry between Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt—romantic or otherwise—but something about watching the two of them raise a baby together won me over, as well as the wonderfully written dialogue between the two best friends. For someone who pulled quadruple duty on this film, Westfeldt gave 100% on all fronts. She wrote a beautiful, hilarious script, gave a great performance, did a remarkable job directing for the first time, and she managed to co-produce the movie too, creating an overall outstanding film.
Friends with Kids will entertain you whether or not you have kids (or friends, for that matter). It manages to be incredibly funny, moving, and original, without being overly sappy or excessively raunchy. It’ll make you think about the way we choose to live our lives and what it means to start a family. Mostly though, it’ll convince you that Adam Scott is in fact a perfect human being, and that he should be in every movie ever. Do yourself a favor and go see this fabulous movie. I’m betting that, like me, you’ll still be thinking about it three days later.