March 6, 2013

Friends With Kids

Jennifer Westfeldt, 2011


          Jason Fryman (Adam Scott) and Julie Keller (Jennifer Westfeldt), best friends since college, are enjoying their bachelor status. They watch as their four best friends transition to a life with children. They quickly see their laid-back lifestyles erode and become frantic, tense and stressed. Their once stylish New York apartments are now filled with tipped-over plastic firetrucks on the floor and toddler screams echoing the walls. But they are also getting the itch to have children of their own. They decide to experiment with an idea of having children together as friends, but continuing to maintain their serial dating lives while raising the child and splitting all of the costs down the middle.
          From a film-making perspective, there is so much quick-cutting early on that it is hard to maintain focus. The backdrop of New York City provides a nice visual aesthetic to the film, but it lacks all of the charm and sincerity of some other romantic comedies filmed in New York (ie. When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall). The tense dynamic of Leslie (Maya Rudolph) and Alex's (Chris O'Dowd) relationship seems cartoonish, like caricatures of a married couple with the resigned husband and the nagging wife, reminiscent of Everybody Loves Raymond. You get excited to see so many of the cast-members from Bridesmaids, but the comparison between the two films is night and day.
          Ultimately the film seems too far-fetched and unrealistic. While the plot itself feels original, the story becomes predictable. There is also some bad acting that really takes you out of the moment. There is a plot-hole late in the film that feels lazy, followed by a poor ending. There is already an over-saturation of mediocre romantic comedies out there, and here is another one that can join the herd. 

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