Friends With Kids: "I Will Be 100% Committed To This, Half The Time"

Director: Jennifer Westfeldt
Writer:    Jennifer Westfeldt
Starring: Adam Scott
               Jennifer Westfeldt
               Chris O'Dowd
               Maya Rudolph
               Jon Hamm
               Kristen Wiig
               Edward Burns
               Megan Fox
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now

The Hollywood rom-com is a film genre that has really lost it's way and constantly repeats plots and has stopped giving us fresh ideas to revel in. In these types of films you will find the likes of Jennifer Aniston (who I love) or Katherine Heigl (who I don't) getting themselves into some crazy situations whilst trying to get some tanned hunk to fall for them; It's a concept I'm getting bored with. It is also clearly an idea that writer/director/actress Jennifer Westdeldt has gotten sick of, because Friends With Kids really tries to step out of the box and try something new.

Adam Scott & Jennifer Westfeldt
After two best friends who are unlucky in their quests for love, Jason and Julie (Scott & Westfeldt), notice that their friends are becoming distant and changing for the worst after having kids, they begin to wonder why such a change is taking place. They realise that having children can put a serious strain on a relationship, but because they both want children they don't know what to do. After much deliberation they make the brave decision to have a child together, that way the child would be raised in a stable environment and they wouldn't have to deal with their parents messy divorce if things go wrong.

Their friends Missy and Ben (Wiig & Hamm), who's love has turned to hate, and Leslie and Alex (Rudolph & O'Dowd), who's relationship has become sexless, struggle to come to terms with the unusual arrangement Jason and Julie have come up with, leading to some very heated discussions. An added hurdle is thrown in when Jason meets Mary Jane (Fox), a young, attractive Broadway dancer, and Julie meets Kurt (Burns), a divorced construction worker with his own children. It is when they meet new people that they really start to miss each other, and hidden feelings begin to emerge, and really throw a spanner in the works. The various changes in each others lives soon put a strain on things, and leave the best friends wondering if they can handle such an unusual situation.

Megan Fox
Edward Burns
The one thing that is so crucially important in rom-coms, and it is too often lacking, is the chemistry between the characters. Our too leads instantly pop on screen, filling the screen with their instant connection, spark and sharp back and forth like they really have been friends for years (which in reality they actually have). Scott takes a heartless, shallow and, honestly, quite selfish character on the biggest journey, turning Jason into a likable and honest man, who realises he has behaved wrongly. Westfeldt manages to bring the perfect amount of neurotic, endearing charm to Julie, instantly bringing the likability factor to her role; and seeing as she wrote and directed the character, you'd expect her to know the character inside and out, which really comes across on screen.

Not only are the stars terrific but so is the supporting cast. We know that they all have terrific chemistry, as we have seen them all perform opposite each other in Bridesmaids, but here you get even more drama and emotion for the actors, especially Wiig and Hamm, who's characters are probably the darkest (Hamm is Westfeldt's husband in real life, just so ya know).

I think the thing that really sets this film apart from other rom-coms is how they deal with the issue of friendship. In so many other films friends are these no-back-boned and soft supporting types who say what makes the friend happy, but in Friends With Kids, they are not afraid to tell each other a few home truths. This is a much more honest and realistic depiction of friendships, if you cant be honest with each other than you can't really be friends, if that means being a tad harsh and brutal, then so be it. 
Chris O'Dowd, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph
& Jon Hamm

In one particular scene Hamm's character really lets loose at Jason and Julie at the dinner table, telling them just how ridiculous their situation is and how they haven't thought it out. It is a slightly more uncomfortable scene to watch, but it is these scenes that really puts it ahead of other rom-coms and makes it more watchable and relatable.

Things start to become to sickly sweet at the end of the movie, which is where things become slightly more predictable and just how you expected them to turn out. It all gets wrapped up pretty quickly, and left me wanting a little bit more from the story and characters; it's still refreshing and very different to other such films, but the end was a bit too obvious for my liking. Friends With Kids is overall a brilliant triumph, and the credit really needs to got to the multi-talented Jennifer Westfeldt; she tells the story brilliantly, brings out natural and funny performances from her actors, as well as acting her socks off as well, and makes each scene flow with fluidity and grace. If you need a reason to see it, just look at the cast and you'll soon realise why it is a brilliant watch.

Friends With Kids - Trailer